The VISTA VARIABLES in the Via Lactea (VVV). A public IR variability survey of the Milky Way bulge and an adjacent section of the mid-plane where star formation activity is high. The survey took ~2100 hours, covering ∼109 point sources within an area of 520 sq deg, including 33 known globular clusters and ∼350 open clusters. The final products will be a deep IR atlas in 5 passbands and a catalogue of ∼106 variable point sources. These will produce a 3-D map of the surveyed region (unlike single-epoch surveys that only give 2-D maps) using well-understood primary distance indicators such as RR Lyrae stars. It will yield important information on the ages of the populations. The observations will be combined with data from MACHO, OGLE, EROS, VST, SPITZER, HST, CHANDRA, INTEGRAL, and ALMA for a complete understanding of the variable sources in the inner Milky Way. Several important implications for the history of the Milky Way, for globular cluster evolution, for the population census of the bulge and center, and for pulsation theory will follow from this survey.
For more information see the VVV home page.