This infrared view of the South Celestial Pole is a composite
of data taken by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)
at 12, 60, and 100 microns.
The stars are the
warmest features in the picture, and show up as small
blue-white dots in the mid-infrared (12 microns).
The yellow dots are galaxies,
which shine brightest in the 60 micron and 100 micron
The picture is centered on the south celestial pole
and extends back to -74 degrees (a portion of the
Small Magellanic Cloud is visible at the top). The
emission in this field is dominated by infrared
"cirrus" --- interstellar dust grains heated by the
surrounding stellar radiation field.
INFRARED PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS CENTER