20-22 January 2011



The 15th International Conference on Gravitational Microlensing

and School on Modelling Planetary Microlensing Events



Scientific Rationale





Invited Speakers


Venue & Accomodation




Scientific Rationale
25 years after the seminal intuition by Bohdan Paczynski, microlensing has rapidly evolved into a new promise for modern astrophysics. Indeed, the detection of celestial bodies by their gravitational effects on the light of background sources has proved to be a very powerful tool for the study of many aspects of our Galaxy and beyond.

The original proposal of using microlensing to estimate the amount of baryonic dark matter in the form of compact substellar bodies is still topical. The observation of microlensing events toward nearby galaxies still represents a hard challenge for present observational facilities. Very strong efforts are under way for upgrading the current strategies in particular toward the galaxy M31.

Hundreds of microlensing events are discovered toward the Galactic Bulge every year. This considerable amount of statistics can be used to characterize the stellar populations of the bulge and the disc of our Galaxy. After several years of observations, the significance of the microlensing sample in the characterization of our Galaxy is growing more and more.

Yet, the most intriguing perspective offered by microlensing is represented by its power to discover new extrasolar planets of very low mass, down to Earth-size or below. Several planetary events have already been detected and studied, while many more are expected as soon as future dedicated telescopes become operational. Interestingly, microlensing is already being used to estimate the abundance of planets around stars in the disc of our Galaxy and to characterize their distributions in distance and mass. As the planetary anomalies typically last only a few hours, the cooperation among all observing groups is mandatory, in order to characterize the events properly and maximize the scientific achievements. Even amateur astronomers are now giving their fundamental contribution. In this respect, microlensing stands as a perfect example of how science can unite the whole mankind in a common path toward pure knowledge.

Salerno Microlensing Conference 2011 will gather all people active in this field, providing the state of the art of microlensing searches and the perspectives opened by new methodologies and new observational and computational facilities. Colloquia on dark matter searches and planet formation theories are also foreseen as a central part of the conference. The three-days conference will be preceded by a school dedicated to the delicate issue of efficient modelling of planetary microlensing events, which requires major efforts and new ideas from new talents in order to get access to the precious physical information hidden in microlensing light curves. For one week in January 2011, Salerno will thus be the place in which the present and the future of microlensing will be unveiled.





International Ph.D.

in Astrophysics

 University of Salerno