From VVV Survey
What is the structure of the inner Galactic bulge? How did the Milky Way form? Thanks to VISTA, a 4.1 meter telescope, and its superb near-infrared camera VIRCAM, new observations can be done to help the astronomers to further answer these questions.
Even when the Milky Way can be observed by the naked eye from dark places at night, because of our position on the Galaxy we can actually only see our nearest neighborhood: dust, gas, and the other stars block the light from other places of our galaxy and we can't observe far into the bulge. At least in the "visual" part of the spectrum of the light.
VISTA, the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy, it is optimized to detect the near-infrared wavelengths of the light of the stars, which can travel further through the dust. This fact, along with its privileged site on the Southern Hemisphere, will allow us to map the Bulge with improved detail and perspective.
Previously, all-sky 2 dimensional maps in near-infrared wavelengths have been done with one epoch data. Otherwise, multi-epochs observations have been carried out for specific small field of view targets on the bulge an disk. The VISTA Variables in The Via Lactea (VVV) public survey will perform multi-epoch and wide FOV observations of the Galaxy's bulge and part of the disk, providing the astronomical public community with a high resolution 3-D (or 4-D if you include the time dimension) map of the bulge
- 'August 2010. A new Color Tile, now from the mid-plane area.
- February 2010. The VISTA Telescope has started the observations for the public surveys, including VVV! The quality is amazing and a good example is shown in this Bulge's image: gas, dust and even a globular cluster (Palomar 6) are clearly visible and approx. ~106 point sources are resolved. This image was made using VVV data from bands J, H and Ks. We made use of Astromatic.net pipeline suite's algorithms.