A survey of faint, near-infrared sources towards the centre of the Galaxy

Jones, A. W.; Selby, M. J.; Prieto Munoz, M.; Sanchez Magro, C.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics (ISSN 0004-6361), vol. 138, no. 2, Sept. 1984, p. 297-302.

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The authors present the results of a survey made at 1.65 μm (H) and 2.2 μm (K) in 15 small areas on the galactic equator between l = 0° and l = 10°. 775 distinct objects were counted in a total area of 0.17 deg2 to limiting magnitudes H = 10.5 and K = 9.5 (equivalent to detecting M giants at 6 - 7 kpc). Source confusion was the limiting factor in these crowded fields. The sources account for 40 - 50% of the 2.4 μm surface brightness of the galactic disk. The central bulge has not been clearly detected. The authors find evidence for a population (≡1000 deg-2) of luminous, reddened objects, with a space density of 2×10-4 pc-3, which are probably supergiants within 0°.5 (90 pc) of the galactic nucleus. The optical counterpart of IRC -20416 is found to be a faint red star, and not the bright B star listed in the Infrared Catalogue.