Near the South Pole is the topic of Part #6 of our image presentation, where we want to share the results from our astrophotography-trip to the Hacienda Los Andes in Chile.
This time we will show you some objects which you can find in the area of the constellations Octans (Oct), Crux (Cru) - the Southern Cross and Chamaeleon (Cha). Sigma Octantis is the southern pole star, whose counterpart is Polaris, the current North Star. At magnitude 5.4, Sigma Octantis is barely visible to the naked eye. Because of this, the Crux constellation is often preferred for determining the position of the South Celestial Pole.
Near the South Pole many interesting dark nebulae, reflection nebulae and intergalactic cirrus can be found in deep images. One fascinating representative of this object class is Cederblad 111, a blue reflection nebula embedded in Chamaeleon I, a nearby region of low mass star formation, located at a distance of 500 light years. The entire Chamaeleon I cloud covers an area of 5 square degrees and, at this distance, is one of the closest regions of star formation to the Earth. Constellation Circinus contains many Sandqvist dark nebulae, which build a part of the giant Circinus Cloud complex - measuring 2x5 degrees in total.
The Coalsack Dark Nebula is the most prominent dark nebula in the skies and covers nearly 7x5 degrees. It overlaps somewhat into the neighbour constellations Centaurus and Musca. Just south of the Coalsack Nebula and the Southern Cross a dusty cosmic cloud - the Dark Doodad - is seen against rich starfields, accompanied by the globular cluster NGC 4372. Beside all thos fascination dark nebulae we can also find a bright jewel in constellation Crux: NGC 4755 which was named "The Jewel Box" by John Herschel in 1830.