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Galaxies behind the Galactic plane: First results and perspectives from the VVV Survey


Vista Variables in The Via Lactea (VVV) is an ESO variability survey that is performing observations in near infrared bands (ZYJHKs) towards the Galactic bulge and part of the diskwith the completeness limits at least 3 mag deeper than 2MASS. In the present work, we searched in the VVV survey data for background galaxies near the Galactic plane using ZYJHKs photometry that covers 1.636 square degrees. We identified 204 new galaxy candidates by analyzingcolors, sizes, and visual inspection of multi-band (ZYJHKs) images. The galaxy candidatescolors were also compared with the predicted ones by star counts models considering a morerealistic extinction model at the same completeness limits observed by VVV. A comparison of the galaxy candidates with the expected one by Milennium simulations is also presented. Ourresults increase the number density of known galaxies behind the Milky Way by more than oneorder of magnitude. A catalog with galaxy properties including ellipticity, Petrosian radii and ZYJHKs magnitudes is provided, as well as comparisons of the results with other surveys ofgalaxies towards Galactic plane. (AU)

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