Planetary Microlensing

Microlensing is an observing technique that makes use of the fact that Gravity can bend Light.  A massive object (the lens) will bend the light of a bright background object (the source). This can generate multiple distorted, magnified, and brightened images of the background source.  With microlensing, the lens mass is too low (mass of a planet or a star) for the displacement of light to be observed easily, but the apparent brightening of the source may still be detected. In such a situation, the lens will pass by the source in a reasonable amount of time, seconds to years instead of millions of years. As the alignment changes, the source's apparent brightness changes, and this can be monitored to detect and study the event. Thus, unlike with strong and weak gravitational lenses, a microlensing event is a transient phenomenon from a human timescale perspective.

Las Cumbres Observatory has a nice explanation of using microlensing techniques to discover extra-solar planets.