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Astron. Astrophys. 357, 816-822 (2000)

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Detecting planets around stars in nearby galaxies

G. Covone 1, R. de Ritis 1,2, M. Dominik 3 and A.A. Marino 2,4

1 Università di Napoli, Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Mostra d'Oltremare pad. 20, 80125 Napoli, Italy (covone@na.infn.it)
2 Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Napoli, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, Via Cinthia, Edificio G, 80126 Napoli, Italy (deritis@na.infn.it)
3 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands (dominik@astro.rug.nl)
4 Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Via Moiariello, 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy (marino@na.astro.it)

Received 18 March 1999 / Accepted 9 March 2000


The only way to detect planets around stars at distances [FORMULA] several kpc is by (photometric or astrometric) microlensing (µL) observations. In this paper, we show that the capability of photometric µL extends to the detection of signals caused by planets around stars in nearby galaxies (e.g. M31) and that there is no other method that can achieve this. Due to the large crowding, µL experiments towards M31 can only observe the high-magnification part of a lensing light curve. Therefore, the dominating channel for µL signals by planets is in distortions near the peak of high-magnification events as discussed by Griest & Safizadeh (1998). We calculate the probability to detect planetary anomalies for µL experiments towards M31 and find that jupiter-like planets around stars in M31 can be detected. Though the characterization of the planet(s) involved in this signal will be difficult, the absence of such signals can yield strong constraints on the abundance of jupiter-like planets.

Key words: galaxies: individual: M 31 – cosmology: gravitational lensing – stars: planetary systems

Send offprint requests to: A.A. Marino

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: June 5, 2000