The Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) ESO Public Survey: Current Status and First Results
Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) is an ESO Public Survey that is performing a variability survey of the Galactic bulge and part of the inner disk using ESO's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA). The survey covers 520 deg^2 of sky area in the ZYJHK_S filters, for a total observing time of 1929 hours, including ~ 10^9 point sources and an estimated ~ 10^6 variable stars. Here we describe the current status of the VVV Survey, in addition to a variety of new results based on VVV data, including light curves for variable stars, newly discovered globular clusters, open clusters, and associations. A set of reddening-free indices based on the ZYJHK_S system is also introduced. Finally, we provide an overview of the VVV Templates Project, whose main goal is to derive well-defined light curve templates in the near-IR, for the automated classification of VVV light curves.