IRAS Mosaic of the South Celestial Pole

The infrared sky at the south celestial polar cap is displayed in this image constructed from nine fields of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) Sky Survey Atlas. This image is a composite of 12 micron (coded blue), 60 micron(green), and 100 micron (red) wavelengths. The stars are the warmest features in the picture, and show up as small blue dots, since they shine most brightly in the 12 micron wavelength. The yellow dots are galaxies, which shine brightest in the 60 micron and 100 micron wavelengths.

The picture is centered on the south celestial pole and extends back to -74 degrees (a portion of the Small Magellanic Cloud visible at the top). The emission in this field is dominated by infrared "cirrus" --- interstellar dust grains heated by the ambient stellar radiation field.