Establishing the Galactic Centre distance using VVV Bulge RR Lyrae variables

D. Majaess, I. Dékány, G. Hajdu, D. Minniti, D. Turner, W. Gieren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study’s objective was to exploit infrared VVV (VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea) photometry for high latitude RRab stars to establish an accurate Galactic Centre distance. RRab candidates were discovered and reaffirmed (n= 4194) by matching Ks photometry with templates via χ2 minimization, and contaminants were reduced by ensuring targets adhered to a strict period-amplitude (Δ Ks) trend and passed the Elorietta et al. classifier. The distance to the Galactic Centre was determined from a high latitude Bulge subsample (| b| > 4 , RGC= 8.30 ± 0.36 kpc, random uncertainty is relatively negligible), and importantly, the comparatively low color-excess and uncrowded location mitigated uncertainties tied to the extinction law, the magnitude-limited nature of the analysis, and photometric contamination. Circumventing those problems resulted in a key uncertainty being the MKs relation, which was derived using LMC RRab stars (MKs=−(2.66±0.06)logP−(1.03±0.06), (J−Ks)0=(0.31±0.04)logP+(0.35±0.02), assuming μ0 , LMC= 18.43). The Galactic Centre distance was not corrected for the cone-effect. Lastly, a new distance indicator emerged as brighter overdensities in the period-magnitude-amplitude diagrams analyzed, which arise from blended RRab and red clump stars. Blending may thrust faint extragalactic variables into the range of detectability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Galaxy: center
  • Stars: variables: RR Lyrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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