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AGAPEROS: Searches for microlensing in the LMC with the Pixel Method - 1, Data treatment and pixel light curves production

Abstract : Recent surveys monitoring millions of light curves of resolved stars in the LMC have discovered several microlensing events. Unresolved stars could however significantly contribute to the microlensing rate towards the LMC. Monitoring pixels, as opposed to individual stars, should be able to detect stellar variability as a variation of the pixel flux. We present a first application of this new type of analysis (Pixel Method) to the LMC Bar. We describe the complete procedure applied to the EROS 91-92 data (one tenth of the existing CCD data set) in order to monitor pixel fluxes. First, geometric and photometric alignments are applied to each image. Averaging the images of each night reduces significantly the noise level. Second, one light curve for each of the 2.1 106 pixels is built and pixels are lumped into 3.6$\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}\times$ 3.6$\hbox{$^{\prime\prime}$}$ super-pixels, one for each elementary pixel. An empirical correction is then applied to account for seeing variations. We find that the final super-pixel light curves fluctuate at a level of 1.8% of the flux in blue and 1.3% in red. We show that this noise level corresponds to about twice the expected photon noise and confirms previous assumptions used for the estimation of the contribution of unresolved stars. We also demonstrate our ability to correct very efficiently for seeing variations affecting each pixel flux. The technical results emphasised here show the efficacy of the Pixel Method and allow us to study luminosity variations due to possible microlensing events and variable stars in two companion papers.
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a L. Melchior, C. Afonso, R. Ansari, E. Aubourg, P. Baillon, et al.. AGAPEROS: Searches for microlensing in the LMC with the Pixel Method - 1, Data treatment and pixel light curves production. Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series, EDP Sciences, 1999, 134, pp.377-391. ⟨10.1051/aas:1999439⟩. ⟨in2p3-00013152⟩

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