Properties of the planetary caustic perturbation


E-mail: (S-JC); (C-UL)


Just two of 10 extrasolar planets found by microlensing have been detected by the planetary caustic, despite the higher probability of planet detection relative to the central caustic, which has been responsible for four extrasolar planet detections. This is because the perturbations induced by the planetary caustic are unpredictable, thus making it difficult to carry out strategic observations. However, if future high-cadence monitoring surveys are conducted, the majority of planetary caustic events including the events by free-floating planets and wide-separation planets would be detected. Hence, understanding the planetary caustic perturbations becomes important. In this paper, we investigate in detail the pattern of the planetary caustic perturbations. From this study, we find three properties of the planetary caustic perturbations. First, planetary systems with the same star–planet separation (s) basically produce perturbations of constant strength, regardless of the planet-to-star mass ratio (q), but the duration of each perturbation scales with inline image. Secondly, close planetary systems with the same separation produce essentially the same negative perturbations between two triangular-shaped caustics, regardless of q, but the duration of the perturbations scales with inline image. Thirdly, the positive perturbations for planetary systems with the same mass ratio become stronger as the caustic shrinks with the increasing |log s|, while the negative perturbations become weaker. We estimate the degeneracy in the determination of q that occurs in planetary caustic events. From this, we find that the mass ratio can be more precisely determined as q increases and |log s| decreases. We also find that the degeneracy range of events for which the source star passes close to the planetary caustic is usually very narrow, and thus it would not significantly affect the determination of q.