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GALACTICNUCLEUS: A high angular resolution JHK imaging survey of the Galactic Centre

Nogueras-Lara, F.; Gallego-Calvente, A. T.; Dong, H.; Gallego-Cano, E.; Girard, J. H. V.; Hilker, M.; de Zeeuw, P. T.; Feldmeier-Krause, A.; Nishiyama, S.; Najarro, F.; Schödel, R.
eprint arXiv:1709.09094
09/2017

ABSTRACT

The Galactic Centre is of fundamental astrophysical interest, but existing near-infrared surveys fall short to cover it adequately. Here we introduce the GALACTICNUCLEUS survey, a JHKs imaging survey of the centre of the Milky Way with a 0.2" angular resolution. We present the observations of Field 1 of our survey, centred approximately on SgrA* with an approximate size of 7.95 ' x 3.43 '. We describe the observational set-up and data reduction pipeline and discuss the quality of the data. Finally, we present some preliminary analysis of the data. The data were acquired with the near-infrared camera HAWK-I at the ESO VLT. Short readout times in combination with the speckle holography algorithm allowed us to produce final images with a stable, Gaussian PSF of 0.2" FWHM. Astrometric calibration is achieved via the VVV survey and photometric calibration is based on the SIRIUS/IRSF survey. The quality of the data is assessed by comparison between observations of the same field with different detectors of HAWK-I and at different times. We reach 5 sigma detection limits of approximately J = 22, H = 21, and Ks = 20. The photometric uncertainties are less than 0.05 at J < 20, H < 17 and Ks < 16. We distinguish five stellar populations in the colour-magnitude diagrams; three of them appear to belong to foreground spiral arms, and the other two correspond to a high- and a low-extinction star groups at the Galactic Centre. We use our data to analyse the near-infrared extinction curve and conclude that it can be described very well by a power-law with an index of JHKs = 2.31 +- 0.03. We do not find any evidence that this index depends on the position along the line-of-sight, or on the absolute value of the extinction. We produce extinction maps that show the clumpiness of the ISM at the Galactic Centre. Finally, we estimate that the majority of the stars have solar or super-solar metallicity.