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  1. Seagroves, Scott ; Barnes, Austin ; Metevier, Anne J. ; Porter, Jason ; Hunter, Lisa (Ed.)
    The Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) has led to the generation of several activities geared toward training in astronomical instru-mentation. These include activities developed for the Center for Adaptive Optics summer school and the AstroTech Instrumentation Summer School. The goal of these activities has been to provide the participants with hands-on experience to convey challenging concepts in instrumentation. The inclusion of practices from PDP led to activities that prioritized inquiry-based approaches over the more traditional formulaic lab-based training and activities. Our panel will review the design of these activities and discuss approaches that increase the likelihood of achieving the learning goals. We will also discuss ways in which these activities can help encourage students with little previous experience in instrumentation to consider additional studies in instrumentation. Finally, we will reflect on the importance of facilitators for these activities and the role PDP plays in training facilitators.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Uncertainty in the initial–final mass relation (IFMR) has long been a problem in understanding the final stages of massive star evolution. One of the major challenges of constraining the IFMR is the difficulty of measuring the mass of nonluminous remnant objects (i.e., neutron stars and black holes). Gravitational-wave detectors have opened the possibility of finding large numbers of compact objects in other galaxies, but all in merging binary systems. Gravitational lensing experiments using astrometry and photometry are capable of finding compact objects, both isolated and in binaries, in the Milky Way. In this work we improve the Population Synthesis for Compact object Lensing Events (PopSyCLE)microlensing simulation code in order to explore the possibility of constraining the IFMR using the Milky Way microlensing population. We predict that the Roman Space Telescope’s microlensing survey will likely be able to distinguish different IFMRs based on the differences at the long end of the Einstein crossing time distribution and the small end of the microlensing parallax distribution, assuming the small (πE≲ 0.02) microlensing parallaxes characteristic of black hole lenses are able to be measured accurately. We emphasize that future microlensing surveys need to be capable of characterizing events with small microlensing parallaxes inmore »order to place the most meaningful constraints on the IFMR.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Modern surveys of gravitational microlensing events have progressed to detecting thousands per year, and surveys are capable of probing Galactic structure, stellar evolution, lens populations, black hole physics, and the nature of dark matter. One of the key avenues for doing this is the microlensing Einstein radius crossing time ( t E ) distribution. However, systematics in individual light curves as well as oversimplistic modeling can lead to biased results. To address this, we developed a model to simultaneously handle the microlensing parallax due to Earth's motion, systematic instrumental effects, and unlensed stellar variability with a Gaussian process model. We used light curves for nearly 10,000 OGLE-III and -IV Milky Way bulge microlensing events and fit each with our model. We also developed a forward model approach to infer the t E distribution by forward modeling from the data rather than using point estimates from individual events. We find that modeling the variability in the baseline removes a source of significant bias in individual events, and the previous analyses overestimated the number of t E > 100 day events due to their oversimplistic model ignoring parallax effects. We use our fits to identify the hundreds filling a regime inmore »the microlensing parameter space that are 50% pure of black holes. Finally, we have released the largest-ever catalog of Markov Chain Monte Carlo parameter estimates for microlensing events.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  6. Abstract This supplement provides supporting material for Lam et al. We briefly summarize past gravitational microlensing searches for black holes (BHs) and present details of the observations, analysis, and modeling of five BH candidates observed with both ground-based photometric microlensing surveys and Hubble Space Telescope astrometry and photometry. We present detailed results for four of the five candidates that show no or low probability for the lens to be a BH. In these cases, the lens masses are <2 M ⊙ , and two of the four are likely white dwarfs or neutron stars. We also present detailed methods for comparing the full sample of five candidates to theoretical expectations of the number of BHs in the Milky Way (∼10 8 ).
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  7. Abstract We present Keck/NIRC2 adaptive optics imaging of planetary microlensing event MOA-2007-BLG-400 that resolves the lens star system from the source. We find that the MOA-2007-BLG-400L planetary system consists of a 1.71 ± 0.27 M Jup planet orbiting a 0.69 ± 0.04 M ⊙ K-dwarf host star at a distance of 6.89 ± 0.77 kpc from the Sun. So, this planetary system probably resides in the Galactic bulge. The planet–host star projected separation is only weakly constrained due to the close-wide light-curve degeneracy; the 2 σ projected separation ranges are 0.6–1.0 au and 4.7–7.7 au for close and wide solutions, respectively. This host mass is at the top end of the range of masses predicted by a standard Bayesian analysis. Our Keck follow-up program has now measured lens-source separations for six planetary microlensing events, and five of these six events have host star masses above the median prediction under the assumption that assumes that all stars have an equal chance of hosting planets detectable by microlensing. This suggests that more massive stars may be more likely to host planets of a fixed mass ratio that orbit near or beyond the snow line. These results also indicate the importance of hostmore »star mass measurements for exoplanets found by microlensing. The microlensing survey imaging data from NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formerly WFIRST) mission will be doing mass measurements like this for a huge number of planetary events.« less
  8. Abstract

    We present the analysis of five black hole candidates identified from gravitational microlensing surveys. Hubble Space Telescope astrometric data and densely sampled light curves from ground-based microlensing surveys are fit with a single-source, single-lens microlensing model in order to measure the mass and luminosity of each lens and determine if it is a black hole. One of the five targets (OGLE-2011-BLG-0462/MOA-2011-BLG-191 or OB110462 for short) shows a significant >1 mas coherent astrometric shift, little to no lens flux, and has an inferred lens mass of 1.6–4.4M. This makes OB110462 the first definitive discovery of a compact object through astrometric microlensing and it is most likely either a neutron star or a low-mass black hole. This compact-object lens is relatively nearby (0.70–1.92 kpc) and has a slow transverse motion of <30 km s−1. OB110462 shows significant tension between models well fit to photometry versus astrometry, making it currently difficult to distinguish between a neutron star and a black hole. Additional observations and modeling with more complex system geometries, such as binary sources, are needed to resolve the puzzling nature of this object. For the remaining four candidates, the lens masses are <2M, and they are unlikely to be black holes;more »two of the four are likely white dwarfs or neutron stars. We compare the full sample of five candidates to theoretical expectations on the number of black holes in the Milky Way (∼108) and find reasonable agreement given the small sample size.

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