OGLE-2003-BLG-238: Microlensing mass estimate of an isolated star

G F Jiang, D L DePoy, A Gal-Yam, B S Gaudi, A Gould, C Han, Y Lipkin, D Maoz, E O Ofek, B G Park, R W Pogge, A Udalski, M Kubiak, M K Szymanski, O Szewczyk, K Zerbrun, L Wyrzykowski, I Soszynski, G Pietrzynski, M D AlbrowJ P Beaulieu, J A R Caldwell, A Cassan, C Coutures, M Dominik, J Donatowicz, P Fouque, J Greenhill, K Hill, K Horne, S F Jorgensen, U G Jorgensen, S Kane, D Kubas, R Martin, J Menzies, K R Pollard, K C Sahu, J Wambsganss, R Watson, A Williams

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Microlensing is the only known direct method to measure the masses of stars that lack visible companions. In terms of microlensing observables, the mass is given by M (c(2)/4G)(r) over tilde (E)theta(E) and so requires the measurement of both the angular Einstein radius theta(E) and the projected Einstein radius (r) over tilde (E). Simultaneous measurement of these two parameters is extremely rare. Here we analyze OGLE-2003-BLG-238, a spectacularly bright (I-min 10.3), high-magnification (A(max) 170) microlensing event. Pronounced finite-source effects permit a measurement of theta(E) = 650 muas. Although the timescale of the event is only t(E) 38 days, one can still obtain weak constraints on the microlens parallax: 4.4 AU < <(r)over tilde>(E) < 18 AU at the 1 sigma level. Together these two parameter measurements yield a range for the lens mass of 0.36 M-circle dot < M < 1.48 M-circle dot. As was the case for MACHO-LMC-5, the only other single star (apart from the Sun) whose mass has been determined from its gravitational effects, this estimate is rather crude. It does, however, demonstrate the viability of the technique. We also discuss future prospects for single-lens mass measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1315
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2004


  • gravitational lensing
  • stars : fundamental parameters
  • HALO


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