19th Annual Microlensing Conference

Annapolis is a pretty city, and played host to this year’s annual microlensing conference. Our host was Dr Rich Barry, Goddard Space Flight Centre.

There were a lot of interesting talks, planet discoveries and techniques being a primary focus, but with a strong influence coming from the proposed space telescope missions which may include microlensing observations in their additional science programmes.

There are two space telescope missions are ESA’s Euclid and NASA’s WFIRST/AFTA. Both are exciting missions. I contributed in a small way to the proposal to use Euclid for planetary microlensing. The last piece of work I did at Manchester was to write code to simulate microlensing observations, to estimate how many planets a space telescope could find, and of what type. I never finished that code, but it was taken over by Matthew Penny at Manchester as part of his PhD work, and he turned it into an excellent piece of software. Matt wrote an excellent paper on it.

It was great to catch up with Matt, and lots of other microlensers at the conference. Ashna Shara (my PhD student) was also there, to get to know the field, meet the people, and try to refine the topic of her PhD.

I gave a talk on — not microlensing — but on a piece of work that uses the large databases that the microlensing survey teams have accumulated. Next conference I hope to have something more on planetary microlensing!

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