Didactic Microlensing Experiment

Description: Using the base of a wine glas we demonstrated the optical magnification effect analog to the microlensing effect. The experimental setup can be seen on the pictures. We attached the glas to a threaded metal rod which again is attached to a wooden base. This allowed us to adjust the height of the glas lens.We then aligned a CCD camera, the glas lens and a light-emitting diode (LED) and recorded various pictures with the LED placed at different positions. The resulting image at each position was recorded and digitally processed using IDL to measure the overall brightness. This approach resulted in the GIF animation showing the brightness for each position of the LED behind the lens and resembles the overall characteristic of astrophysical microlensing effect. Most impressive seen is the Einstein-ring when the centre of the lens, the LED and the observer arealigned with each other.

In the future we plan to extend this experimental setup and develop didactical material which illustrates the main principle behind microlensing theory and its analogy to optics.

Contact: Tobias C. Hinse & Eamon M. Scullion

GIF Animation of Microlensing Light-curve