Featured Image: Extinction in Our Inner Galaxy


In this map of the innermost galaxy, which spans only a few square degrees at the Milky Way’s center, we can see the locations of more than 31 million objects obtained from the VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) survey. This near-infrared atlas traces stellar populations in the inner Milky Way that are dimmed and reddened by interstellar dust and gas — a process known as extinction — in a predictable way. Led by Javier Alonso-García (University of Antofagasta and the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics in Chile), a team of scientists has now used the VVV measurements of these stars to better understand the distribution of gas and dust that causes extinction in our inner galaxy — particularly in the most central, highly reddened, and crowded areas of the Milky Way. For more information, check out the paper below.


Javier Alonso-García et al 2017 ApJL 849 L13. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aa92c3