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 astronomers answer these questions.
Even when the Milky Way can be observed by the naked eye from dark places at night, because of our position in the Galaxy, we can actually only see our closest neighborhood. Dust, gas, and stars block the light from other places of our galaxy and thus we are not able to observe far into the bulge, at least in the "visual" part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
VISTA, the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy, is optimized to detect the near-infrared emission of 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 single epoch data. Otherwise, multi-epoch observations have been carried out for specific small field of view targets on the bulge and disk. The VISTA Variables in The Via Lactea (VVV) public survey will perform wide FOV multi-epoch 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 d008. Data comes from J, H and Ks bands, and the field is aligned with Galactic Coordinates (north up, east left). Resolution is 0.34 arcsec/pix2
- 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 some of the Astromatic.net pipeline suite's algorithms.