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Bill Sadowski Park

Deering Estate

Zoo Miami


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Southern Cross Image
  • Welcome to
  • Home of the Winter Star Party
  • Astronomers of South Florida
  • Proud associates of FIU Dept of Physics


It is with great sadness that the Southern Cross Astronomical Society announces the passing of Matthew "Tippy" D'Auria, lifetime member and founder of the Winter Star Party. Tippy was a rare treasure. His love of astronomy and his passion for research, education and public outreach was a brightly shining star in our hobby........he will be greatly missed.
Tippy was either a friend, mentor or an inspiration to all who knew him or met him. Our little part of the world will just not be the same without him.
Our sympathies and our prayers are with Tippy's wife Patty and their family in this time of great sorrow.

Memorial services for Tippy will be held on Friday, August 3rd, at the Florida National Cemetory located at 6502 SW 102nd Ave. Bushnell, Florida 33513. (305)-793-7740.
Tippy's wife Patty has asked that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Southern Cross Asronomical Society.

Rest in peace old friend

BLOGS from the Local Group

Please take a few moments to read this wonderful article in this months Asrtonomy Magazine, on line, written by Micheal Bakich.


August 4th, 18th, and 25th
Bill Sadowsky Park
17555 SW 79th Ave.
Palmetto Bay, Fl. 33157

Bring family, friends, faculty, students, future astronomers, chairs, binoculars, telescopes, bug repellent, jackets and dress appropriately. Tour the dark, winter star-studded sky in SCAS hi-tech equipment. No white lights, lasers, litter, alcohol or pets. Park in the parking lot and walk over to the observing pad. Observing at Bill Sadowski Park will be closed on new moon Saturdays (June 9th) so we may use our dark sky facility in the Redlands.
Please watch our Facebook page and our website for all future events, updates and cancellations.



SATURDAY, AUGUST 11th, come to our New Moon Star Party, dusk til 10 p.m. hosted by Southern Cross Astros. Bring family, friends, chairs, binoculars, bug repellent to the D'Auria Observatory. Hi-tech SCAS equipment will be focused on the stars and deep sky wonders that the Winter skies have to offer. The D'Auria Dark Sky Observatory is located at 23325 SW 217 Avenue, Homestead, 33031. Please remember to park outside the gate. NO public vehicle traffic is permitted on the field. NO lasers, lights, litter, alcohol or pets. Sadowski Park Star Party, Palmetto Bay will be closed. For information call 305-661-1375 or 305-439-1351. All cancellations will be posted on the SCAS Facebook page prior to the start of any star party. SADOWSKI PARK WILL BE CLOSED DURING THE NEW MOON STAR PARTY!

About Us Calendar The Winter Star Party Become A Member Today!

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Losmandy Astronomical Products

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Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
August 4th Last Quarter Moon 2:18 pm
New Moon Image
August 11th New Moon 5:51 am
First Quarter Moon Image
August 18th First Quarter Moon 3:56 am
Full Moon Image
August 26th Full Moon 7:44 am



Perseids Active from August 11th to the 14th, 2018

MeteorWatch- pull up a lounge chair with a warm beverage to ward off the mid-evening dampness. No equipment is needed. The meteor shower radiant originates in Perseus which rises in the NE by 11 p.m. August 11-13th is the peak activity for the Perseus in the predawn hours for the eastern time zone. Some early Perseids may be visible mid-July to August 24th. Tiny remnants from long-gone Comet Swift-Tuttle hang in space. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, it passes through the patches of particles which drop at supersonic speed 50,000 - 165,000 mph into our atmosphere and incinerate into colorful celestial fireworks at an altitude of 55-120 miles above the observer. Early Perseids may be "Earth-grazers"--bright meteors racing close to our horizons. A few brilliant fireballs may occur in the Perseid shower. As the constellation Perseus reaches Zenith, meteors may shower down in all directions, exceeding 60 per hour from a clear, dark sky site between Midnight and 4 a.m. EDT. Look about 40 degrees from the radiant where the meteors may have long colorful trains. If weather permits, the Moonless night skies could produce quite a show! If you want to record your meteor observations in 1 hour segments, visit Int'l Meteor Organization (IMO) for instructions. SCAS Hotline: 305-661-1375.

Come to the free SCAS NEW MOON/METEORWATCH Saturday, August 11th, at dusk, D'Auria Observatory 23325 SW 217 Ave. Homestead 33031. Sadowski Park will be closed that evening only. Information: 305-439-1351.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for meteors and fireballs during February:
  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.

Clear Sky Chart



4 planets arc across the southern sky: fiery Mars in Capricornus SE, Saturn in Sagittarius South, Jupiter in Libra SW and Venus in Virgo in the west.

04- LAST QUARTER MOON occurs 2:18 p.m.
12- Young Moon lies below Leo the Lion's hind leg low in the west. Early PERSEID METEORS may be visible late evening.
14-At dusk the crescent Moon floats above brilliant Venus in Virgo in the west. Use binoculars to view dark Earthshine on the Moon.
18- The Moon leads huge Scorpius into the SSW.
20- The Moon lies near silver Saturn in the south. Aim binoculars to the myriad of clusters and nebulae in the south.
23- Tonight the Moon drifts 10 degrees above bright Mars in Capricornus in the SE.
28- Venus and the star Spica are 3.2 degrees apart.
30- 11 p.m. a bright Moon lies 5 degrees below blue-green Uranus in Pisces, Fish in SE.
31- Tonight brilliant Venus, Evening Star, nudges Spica in Virgo low in the west.

Spica in Virgo in the west; Jupiter in Libra in the SW; Scorpius with ruddy Antares (red supergiant) SSW; Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) in the south; fiery Mars in Capricornus in the SE; bright Arcturus in the west; Corona Borealis (stellar necklace) overhead; Vega, in Lyra the Harp, leading the vast Summer Triangle to the Zenith; Pegasus (Winged Horse) climbs higher in the east; by Midnight the Royal Family arrives in the NE (King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda, Perseus the Hero); the Big Dipper swings low in the NW.


05- At dawn, the waning crescent Moon floats above ruddy Aldebaran in the Hyades star cluster in Taurus, Bull. Spectacular view in binoculars!
09- The old Moon rises in the ENE right of the Beehive star cluster & Gemini Twins.
11- NEW MOON occurs 5:51 a.m.
11-14th- PERSEID METEOR SHOWER Midnight to dawn.
18- FIRST QUARTER MOON occurs 3:56 a.m.
20- Mercury appears low in the east. Brilliant Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog low in SE.
21- By 6 a.m. the Moon floats 2 degrees from Saturn in the SW.
25- At dawn, Moon lies directly below the Beehive cluster and the Gemini Twins.
26- The FRUIT MOON is full at 7:44 a.m.

Aries, Ram chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) lower in the west; the Royal Family reigns in the north; Capella guides Auriga and the Charioteer toward the Zenith; the Pleiades cluster leads Taurus and the Hyades cluster higher in the east; Orion, Hunter, strides above the eastern horizon followed by Procyon, Little Dog and brilliant blue Sirius in Orion's Big Dog low in the SE. They announce the Dog Days of Summer!

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Welcome to
Home of the Winter Star Party
We Are Astronomers of South Florida
We Are Passionate about Astronomy
We are proud to be associated with the FIU Dept of Physics

"The Mission Statement of the Southern Cross Astronmical Society, Inc., is to bring astronomy to the public through education, research and enjoyable free public events, free telescope observing, improve the status, understanding and enjoyment of amateur astronomy. We are edicated, by our legacy, to provide free lectures and presentations. We encourage research and pursue a respectful attitude to discourage light pollution. We believe a beautiful starlit sky belongs to everyone. “

Duke N.Dayton, Former SCAS President

Winter Star Party Logo

Winter Star Party

Winter Skies Tropical Setting

The Winter Star Party "WSP" is a serious event designed for amateur astronomers. WSP is held annually, usually during the new moon in February. The event is unique in that it occurs mid-winter during the height of the Florida Keys tourist season. The warm weather, coupled with dark skies, and possibly the steadies skies in North America attracts attendees from all over the frozen United States, Canada, and Europe giving the event an international flavor. The amateur astronomical "get-to-together"allows participants to meet and share observing ideas, astro-imaging techniques, as well as find out what's new in the hobby. WSP offers a stellar daily line-up of speakers who are experts in their particular field. WSP is held under the auspices of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society of Miami. This not -for-profit organization funnels proceeds from this event toward public education projects, scholarship programs, humanitarian needs and Girl Scout Camp improvements.


Established in 1984, the Annual WINTER STAR PARTY is held in the Florida Keys, and hosted by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society (SCAS), Inc., of Miami, Florida.

During a new moon week each February, approximately 650 amateur astronomers from around the world travel to the warm subtropics of the Florida Keys to enjoy nightly observing in 360º of clear steady night skies, exchange information and advice on the hobby, meet SCAS members and distinguished guest speakers, shop for astronomical equipment from the finest vendors in the country, participate in photo contests & workshops, go sightseeing in the "Conch Republic", and record the awesome beauty sparkling in the southern night skies.

Traveling To
The Star Party

Getting to the WSP is easy.

From the Miami International Airport, it's 45 minutes on the Florida Turnpike south, followed by two hours on scenic Highway US-1 down the Florida Keys. Connecting flights to Key West are also available, reducing driving time to under an hour. Marathon Airport offers scheduled airline service to and from Fort Myers, Fl on Continental Airlines (in partnership with Cape Air). Marathon Airport started this new service in 2008. We advise you NOT to make non-refundable travel plans until you have received confirmation of your registration.

to Stay

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The Girl Scout Campground has plenty of room for tent camping and a limited amount of room for RVs (see registration form for prices). Bunks are also available. Each Tent sleeps six. The campground has showers and clean bathrooms, but this is not a resort and facilities are rustic. If you prefer to stay off-site, there are several hotels on neighboring Keys (look for accommodations in Big Pine or Marathon). Remember, the WSP is held during the peak of tourist season in the Keys, so reserve as soon as possible after you receive confirmation (AKA WSP Ticket) of your attendance. For information on area accommodations and recreational activities, call 1-800-FLA-KEYS or see The Official Florida Keys web site.

Star Party

Register Early to Ensure Your Spot

Please contact the Winter Star Party Registrars at or call 386-362-5995 if you have any questions about registration. The 2018 WSP Registration Notification Postcards will be sent out in early September 2016.