The VVVX Tile IDs

With more than a thousand tiles, VVVX expects to cover 150 deg across the Milky Way from longitude 230 to longitude 20 and an overlaping area of 20º x  24º in the Bulge between −10″ < l < +10″ and −14.5″ < b < 9.5″


VVV-WIT-05: Nova or Supernova in the Milky Way?


ATel #8869; R. K. Saito (Universidade Federal de Sergipe), D. Minniti (Univ. Andres Bello, Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Vatican Observatory), M. Catelan (Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Chile, Millennium Institute of Astrophysics), J. C. Beamin (Univ. de Valparaiso, Millennium Institute of Astrophysics), R. Contreras Ramos (Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Chile)
on 25 Mar 2016; 17:27 UT
Credential Certification: Roberto Saito (

Subjects: Infra-Red, Neutrinos, Nova, Supernovae, Variables

We report the discovery of a high amplitude erupting variable, possibly a large amplitude nova or even a supernova, very close to the Galactic center. VVV-WIT-05 peaked on Aug 2011 when it appeared as a saturated source with =8.15 mag and (Z-Ks)~10 mag. The object remained in a plateau during Aug 04 – Sep 28 2011 and in the last epoch of 2011 on Oct 10 the object was seen at Ks=8.42 mag. In the 2012 season VVV-WIT-05 fades from Ks=12.24 mag on Feb 26 to Ks=12.76 mag on Apr 29.

Observations taken during 2010 as well in 2013-2015 seasons show no detection at the source position and taking into consideration the detection limit of Ks~16.6 mag in the field we can infer a total variation of Delta_Ks>8.5 mag. The amplitude is almost as large as that of VVV-WIT-01 (ATel #4041). This is another example of the occurrence of large amplitude transients in our own Galaxy that have remained hidden by dust. The coordinates of VVV-WIT-05 are RA,DEC=17:43:05.20,-28:27:39.4, corresponding to L,B=0.114,0.722.

Importantly, the VVV-WIT-05 burst coincides, both spatially and in time, with a strong neutrino event reported by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory on Aug 18 2011 in a position just about 35 arcmin apart from the coordinates of VVV-WIT-05. This coincidence suggests a possible association between VVV-WIT-05 and the neutrino detection.

According to the VVV reddening maps (Gonzalez et al., 2012, A&A, 543, 13) assuming the Nishiyama et al. (2009, ApJ, 696, 1407) extinction law, the mean extinction for a 2 arcmin region around the source position is A_K=1.1 mag, corresponding to A_V=9.3 mag.

A visual inspection on the VVV images shows the presence of two nearby sources within less than 1 arcsec from the position of VVV-WIT-05. These sources probably blend with VVV-WIT-05 when the object is in a faint stage. We encourage further observations of VVV-WIT-05 at other wavelengths.

Master theses on VVV

The Master program in astrophysics at Universidad de Valparaíso announces two graduated students using VVV data for variability and paralaxes; Nicolas Medina, supervised by prof. Jordanka Borissova and Vicente Villanueva, supervised by prof. Radostin Kurtev.

Congratulations to Nicolás and Vicente, as both graduated summa cum laude.


Nicolas Medina
Nicolas Medina graduated summa cum laude on his master thesis, supervised by prof. Jordanka Borissova


Vicente Villanueva
Vicente Villanueva graduated summa cum laude on his master thesis, supervised by prof. Radostin Kurtev


0ther graduate thesis on VVV


7th VVV Science Workshop, Antofagasta, 29 Feb – 1 March, 2016

The 7th VVV Science Workshop will be held in the city of Antofagasta on February 29th and March 1st, 2016.


VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) is one of the six ESO Public Surveys for 4-meter VISTA Telescope. VVV is scanning the Milky Way bulge and an adjacent section of the midplane, where star formation activity is high. The survey will take 1929 hours of observations during seven years (2010–2016), covering ~10^9 point sources across an area of 520 deg^2, including 36 known globular and ~420 open clusters. During the 7th VVV Science Meeting we will discuss the results of the VVV Survey as well as to plan the strategies for the VVV-X.

The Meeting is being planned to include contributed talks, poster sessions and plenary discussions.


Márcio Catelan, Douglas Geisler, Dante Minniti, Alexandre Roman-Lopes, Manuela Zoccali.


Javier Alonso-García, Maren Hempel, Christian Moni-Bidin, Tali Palma, Karla Peña Ramírez, Joyce Pullen, Sebastián Ramírez Alegría.

Sponsoring Institutions

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Antofagasta, Universidad Católica del Norte, Universidad Andrés Bello, and  Millennium Institute of Astrophysics


Antofagasta, also known as “La Perla del Norte”, is a port city in northern Chile, about 1,300 kilometres north of Santiago. It is the capital of the II Region (Región de Antofagasta), with a population of ~400.000 people, and in its vicinity it is located ESO’s most important observatory, Paranal, where VISTA telescope is located.


Flights between Santiago (SCL) and Antofagasta (ANF) are frequent (every hour or less) with LAN and Sky airlines. From Antofagasta’s airport you can get a taxi (~CLP$20000) or a shared van shuttle (~CLP$6000) to Antofagasta center where the hotel is located. One good option is the service offered by Transvip –shared (compartido) or individual (exclusivo)—whose counter is on the right end of the arrival terminal, after exiting the luggage pickup area, but still inside the terminal building. Travel from the airport to the city center is 30min-1h depending on traffic.

We will be celebrating our meeting at the Hotel Antofagasta
Adress: Balmaceda 2575, Antofagasta
Phone: +56 55 2228811


Remember, rooms at Hotel Antofagasta for all registered participants with a talk or poster will be covered by the organization, so you do NOT need to contact the hotel yourself. The booking is ONLY for the night of February 29th. If you are planning to extend your stay or bring family or friends, you need to do your own reservations. Registered participants with no contribution should make their own arrangements.
Note also we are starting the conference on February 29th at noon to give you time to arrive to Antofagasta in the morning.


Registration is now closed for the 7th VVV Science meeting. The deadline for registration was January 22nd.

Registered participants

  • Almeida, Andrés                             Universidad de La Serena
  • Alonso-García, Javier                     Universidad de Antofagasta
  • Alves, Sanzia                                     IA – PUC / MAS
  • Arnaboldi, Magda                           ESO (Germany)
  • Barbá, Rodolfo                                 Universidad de La Serena
  • Beamín, Juan Carlos                      Universidad de Valparaíso
  • Cassisi, Santi                                     INAF – Teramo (Italy)
  • Catelan, Márcio                               PUC
  • Cohen, Roger                                    U. de Concepción
  • Cortés, Cristián                                UMCE/MAS
  • Dekany, Istvan                                  MAS/PUC
  • Donoso, Laura                                  IATE (Argentina)
  • Duffau, Sonia                                    MAS/PUC
  • Ferreira Lopes, Carlos Eduardo  University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • Firpo, Verónica                                 Universidad de La Serena
  • Flores Quintana, Catalina             Universidad Andrés Bello
  • Geisler, Doug                                    Universidad de Concepción
  • Godoy, Nicolás                                 Universidad de Valparaíso
  • González, Oscar A.                          IfA, Edinburgh (UK)
  • González-Fernández, Carlos       CASU (UK)
  • Gramajo, Luciana Veronica         OAC- UNC (Argentina)
  • Gromadzki, Mariusz                      U. de Valparaiso
  • Gurovich, Sebastián                      IATE (Argentina)
  • Gutiérrez, Lorena                          UNAB
  • Hajdu, Gergely                                PUC
  • Hempel, Maren                               PUC
  • Hidalgo, Sebastián                        IAC (Spain)
  • Ivanov, Valentin                             ESO (Germany)
  • Kuhn, Michael                                 Universidad de Valparaíso
  • Labayru, Catalina                           Universidad de La Serena
  • Lima, Eliade                                    U. Federal do Pampa (Brazil)
  • Lucas, Philip                                   University of Hertfordshire (UK)
  • Mauro, Francesco                          MAS; U. de Concepción
  • Merlo, David                                    OAC (Argentina)
  • Minniti, Dante                                UNAB
  • Moni Bidin, Christian                    Universidad Católica del Norte
  • Montenegro, Katherine                UNAB
  • Moyano, Maximiliano                    Universidad Católica del Norte
  • Nilo Castellón, Jose Luis             Universidad de La Serena
  • Palma, Tali                                        Universidad Andrés Bello
  • Peña Ramírez, Karla                    PUC
  • Pullen, Joyce                                  MAS
  • Ramírez Alegría, Sebastián      Universidad de Valparaíso / MAS
  • Roman-Lopes, Alexandre          Universidad de La Serena
  • Saito, Roberto                                U. Federal de Sergipe (Brazil)
  • Sbordone, Luca                              MAS
  • Smith, Leigh                                 University of Hertfordshire (UK)
  • Sökmen, Efşan                               IAC (Spain)
  • Soto, Mario                                     Universidad de Atacama
  • Soto King, Piera                            Universidad de La Serena
  • Tissera, Patricia                            UNAB
  • Valcarce, Aldo                               PUC
  • Varela, Silvio                                  Universidad Andres Bello
  • Vargas-González, Jaime            Universidad de La Serena
  • Villanueva, Vicente                     Universidad de Valparaíso
  • Zoccali, Manuela                          PUC




Monday,  February 29th

1:30PM – 2PM Registration

2:00PM – 2:20PM Carlos González-Fernández (CASU) “VISTA data processing at CASU: Status and updates”

2:20PM – 2:40PM Javier Alonso-García (U. Antofagasta) “The VVV giga-CMD”

2:40PM – 3:00PM Istvan Dekany / Gergely Hadju (PUC) “Revisiting VVV RR Lyrae stars: the subtle nature of foreground extinction and the old Galactic spheroid.”

3:00PM – 3:20PM Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Lopes (U. Edinburgh) “Improving Methods for Analyzing Variability and Application to the VVV”

3:20PM – 3:40PM Juan Carlos Beamín (U.Valparaiso) “VVV survey: How can we use it to study very low mass stars and brown dwarfs?”

3:40PM – 4:10PM Coffee break and poster viewing

4:10PM – 4:30PM Santi Cassisi (INAF-Teramo) “A theoretical evolutionary framework for the VVV science”

4:30PM – 4:50PM  Sebastián Hidalgo (IAC) “Star formation history from resolved stellar populations: results from the Local Group dwarf galaxies and future work using VVV data.”

4:50PM – 5:10PM Patricia Tissera (UNAB) “The contribution of accreted satellites to the inner part of the Milky-Way mass-size galaxies”

5:10PM – 5:30PM Maren Hempel (PUC) “The NIR variability of QSO’s and how to find them behind the Milky Way”

5:30PM – 6:00PM Valentin Ivanov (ESO) Practical demonstration on the upcoming ESO VIRCAM pipeline under the Reflex environment.

8:00PM  VVV Meeting Dinner

Tuesday, March 1st

9:15AM – 9:35AM Phil Lucas (U. Hertfordshire) “Eruptive YSOs in VVV and VVVX”

9:35AM – 9:55AM Rodolfo Barbá (U.La Serena) “ The skyscape of Puppis-Vela-Carina in the framework of VVV-X”

9:55AM – 10:15AM Mariusz Gromadzki (U. Valparaíso) “Characterization of high proper motion objects in VVV survey.”

10:15AM – 10:35AM Leigh Smith (U. Hertfordshire) “Proper Motions and Parallaxes from the VVV and VVVX”

10:35 – 11:00 AM Coffee break and poster viewing

11:00AM – 11:20AM Magda Arnaboldi (ESO) “The ESO public surveys”

11:20AM – 11:40AM Roger Cohen (U. Concepción) “The Near-Infrared View of Galactic Globular Clusters: Bulge Clusters With VVV and More”

11:40PM – 12:00PM Oscar González (U.Edinburgh) “The role of VVV and VVVX in the MOONS and E-ELT era”

12:00PM – 12:20PM Dante Minniti (UNAB/MAS) “Future VVV Dreams”

12:20PM – 1:00PM Round table: “The VVV and VVV-X: Where do we stand and where do we go from here?”

1:00PM – 2:30PM Lunch

2:30PM – 2:50 PM Valentin Ivanov (ESO) Star clusters from the VMC and VVV surveys

2:50PM – 3:10PM  Doug Geisler (U.Concepción) “GeMS Observations of the Bulge Globular Cluster NGC 6624″

3:10PM – 3:30PM  Francesco Mauro (U.Concepción) “Photometric studying the Horizontal Branch of NGC6440 and NGC6569 with GeMS/GSAOI+VVV”

3:30PM – 4:00 PM Coffee break and poster viewing

4:00AM – 4:20AM  Sebastián Ramírez-Alegría (U. Valparaíso) “Massive open star clusters using the VVV survey: Project status.”

4:20AM – 4:40PM Piera Soto King (U.La Serena) “Star formation in the area of VVV clusters La Serena 210, 211 and 212”

4:40PM – 5:00PM Michael Kuhn (U. Valparaíso) “Mass Segregation in Galactic Star-Forming Regions”

5:00PM – 5:20PM Jaime Vargas González (U. La Serena) “Optical polarimetric and Near-IR Photometric study in the direction of the Galactic HII region RCW95″

6:00PM – 8:00PM  SOCHIAS cocktail



Andrés Almeida (U. La Serena) “VVV photometry and OSIRIS spectroscopy of star forming clusters in the Norma region”

Sanzia Alves (IA – PUC / MAS) “Synthetic light curves for the VVV project templates”

Cristián Cortés (UMCE/MAS) “Spectroscopic follow-up for VVV-Kepler 2 targets: Searching the nature of stellar rotation”

Sonia Duffau (MAS/PUC) “Accurate Chemical Abundance Calibration of RR Lyrae Stars: Towards Understanding the Early Evolution of the Bulge”

Verónica Firpo (U. La Serena) “Systematic detection of OB associations in the VVV and 2MASS surveys”

Nicolás Godoy (U. Valparaíso) “Establishing an Astrometric Reference System Towards the Milky Way’s Bulge: Quasi-Stellar Object Candidates from the VVV Survey.”//”Searching Faint Companions for High Proper Motion Stars from the VVV Survey.”

Luciana Verónica Gramajo (O. Córdoba – UNC) “A study of photometric binary systems using the VVV data”

Sebastián Gurovich (IATE) “Machine learning Sag dSph with Vista Data”

Catalina Labayru (U. La Serena) “A Lucky Imaging Survey of Southern Massive Stars with Astralux Sur”

David Merlo (O. Córdoba) “A quasi-automatic method for acquiring VVV magnitudes”

Katherine Montenegro (UNAB) “Searching of Novae, Microlensing events and other phenomena in the disk of the Milky Way with the VVV Survey.”

Jose Luís Nilo Castellón (U. La Serena) “VVV-J144321.0-611753.9: The first candidate for a galaxy cluster discovered in the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea survey”

Eliade Lima (Universidade Federal de Pampa) “The W31 star foming complex: the distance of SGR 1806-20.”

Tali Palma (UNAB) “Search for variable stars in the fields of Galactic open clusters using the VVV Survey”

Karla Peña Ramírez (PUC) “Lynga14 revisited with the VVV”

Joyce Pullen (MAS) “The VVV Model of collaboration”

Roberto Saito (Universidade Federal de Sergipe) “On the VVV disk novae”

Efşan Sökmen (IAC) “Star formation history of the Milky Way using the VVV Survey for the southern Galactic disk”

Mario Soto (U. Atacama) “A Rayleigh-Jeans Color-Excess Extinction map for the Southern Galactic disk using VVV”

Aldo Valcarce (PUC) TBA

Vicente Villanueva (U. Valparaíso) “Parallaxes with VVV”

Manuela Zoccali (PUC) “Proper motions of Bulge Globular Clusters with VVV”

What is this?


The object is not detectable in observations (Ks band) between 2010 and 2013, then in 2014, the object appears badly saturated and after 325 days since the last observation, the object is marginally detected in the Ks band.

This unclassified variable source from VVV survey had a increase of at least 7 magnitudes in the Ks band, the colors of the source one year after explotion suggest that the level of extinction is not particularly high compared to other sources nearby.

Near IR colors for the source VVV WIT 003. and Ks detections and upper and lower limits.

VVV at Tecnociencia S3E10

On 2013, Andrea Obaid and Cristian Campos, partners at the tv show Tecnociencia, casted the 10th episode of the 3rd season of their program.
The first part was about astronomy; the VVV Survey and the VISTA telescope at Paranal, and about the planet hunting done from Chile, in which they interview Dante Minniti, our P.I. and a planet hunter for more than 15 years, and Oscar González who at that time was already an ESO fellow observing at VLT.
Find out more about this episode and Tecnociencia at


eso1542 — Science Release 28 October 2015

VISTA Discovers New Component of Milky Way

Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found. (more)

Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found. This diagram shows the locations of the newly discovered Cepheids in an artist’s rendering of the Milky Way. The yellow star indicates the position of the Sun.
Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found. This diagram shows the locations of the newly discovered Cepheids in an artist’s rendering of the Milky Way. The yellow star indicates the position of the Sun.

Research paper

Congratulations to Istvan Dekany, D. Minniti, D. Majaess, M. Zoccali, G. Hajdu, J. Alonso-Garcia, M. Catelan, W. Gieren, J. Borissova



observations completed!

Progress of VVV observations 17.10.2015

As of October 17, 2015 the observations for VVV are complete.

Run 179B.2002(B): YZJHK + 5 Ks-epochs for Bulge & Disk
300 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(C): 12 additional Ks-epochs for all Bulge tiles, 8 more Ks-epochs for the Disk tiles
292 hours, competed
Run 179B.2002(D): Bulge in Ks only, selected tiles (b293,294,295,296,307,308,309,310) have now 67 epochs, the rest stands at 33 epochs
275 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(E): Disk in the Ks-band  only. This was a summer semester, only the outer disk (the outer 22 coloums*4 rows of the disk area) could be observed, and got 13 more epochs.
152 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(F): Ks-band only. The inner disk tiles (16 coloums) got 13 more epochs, and were now equal to the outer disk tiles. The bulge was observed with most tiles now reaching 61 epochs and the selected 8 tiles now having 80 epochs.
550 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(G): 268h of Ks-band in both disk and bulge area. 8 tiles (in Baades Window and covered by OGLE) have been selected to be observed 186 times, to allow the detection of short time variables.
268 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(H): Repat Grade ‘D’ OBs from previous observing epochs, epsecially YZJH observations, since there were executed only once.
15 hours, competed
Run 179B.2002(I):  This are the remaining 92 hours of the original VVV Survey. The Disk has now 47 epochs, and the Bulge at 68 epochs.
92 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(J): This are the YZ calibration observations. We got 20 h for those and will observe VVV tiles at the gal. plane  (highest extinction) together with  offset fileds to test the YZ calibrations.
20 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(K):  This are the additional 193 hours to repeat the multi-color observations from year 1 of the survey, given that we are now in the 6th year and the first round of YZ- HKJ images were done 4 years ago.
193 hours, completed
Run 179B.2002(L):  Last year several OBs were affected by startrails and we were granted 17.5 hours to repeat those OBs
17 hours, completed

In most runs the alloted time does not correspond to an exact number of epochs for all tiles, so we filled those free hours with as many ‘Grade D’ OBs we could find, giving preference to disk tiles, since the disk area has less epochs. However, there are also Bulge OBs included. Please remember, that Grade D is NOT the same as rejected, they were executed out of constraints but OB will not be repeated (by default).