Vol. 587
In section 1. Letters

Stellar density profile and mass of the Milky Way bulge from VVV data

by E. Valenti, M. Zoccali, O. A. Gonzalez, et al. A&A 587, L6


The authors present the first full density profile of the bulge of the Milky Way, extending their search into the densest region of the disc (b=0). The profile was created by counting red clump stars found in the new deep and high-quality colour magnitude diagrams, which were constructed using DoPHOT PSF-fitting photometry on VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) public survey data. The authors make the link between stellar kinematics from the Giraffe Inner Bulge Spectroscopic Survey (GIBS) and their stellar density distribution. Combining the stellar density profile with the bulge initial mass function, they obtain the first fully empirical estimate of the stellar mass of the Galactic bulge as 2.0 ± 0.3 x 10^10 Msun (within |b| ‹ 9.5°, |l| ‹ 10°).