To Top

Bill Sadowski Park

Deering Estate

Zoo Miami


This content comes from a hidden element on this page.

The inline option preserves bound JavaScript events and changes, and it puts the content back where it came from when it is closed.

Click me, it will be preserved!

If you try to open a new Colorbox while it is already open, it will update itself with the new content.

Updating Content Example:
Click here to load new content

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


Weather permitting, Saturdays 8-11 p.m. the FIU Astronomy Club schedules free Star Parties on the roof of the Stocker AstroScience Center Observatory located behind the FIU Chemistry-Physics Building SW 109 Ave./SW 8 St. Main campus.

SATURDAY 11/03- NEW MOON STAR PARTY- D'Auria Observatory dusk-10 p.m. 23325 SW 217 Ave. Homestead. Bring chairs, bug repellent. SCAS hi-tech equipment will be focused on deep sky objects.

FRIDAY, 11/09- VETERANS STAR PARTY- 6-10 p.m. Shark Valley, Tamiami Trail, Everglades National Park. SCAS honors our military vets with hi-tech equipment on the observation deck to show winter constellations in very dark skies. Gift Shop will be open until 8 p.m.

FRIDAY 11/16- free SCAS program: WINTER CONSTELLATIONS 8 p.m. FIU Physics lecture hall CP-145 Main campus.

SUNDAY 11/25- SUPERMOON Star Party with SCAS Astros 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Dee r ing Estate at Cutler, SW 167 St./SW 72 Ave. east of Old Cutler Road. Bring chairs, binoculars, blankets, bug repellent.

STAR PARTIES- Weather Permitting--SATURDAY October 13, 20, 27 November 10, 17, 24th, SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment 8-10 p.m. on the observation deck in MiamiDade Bill Sadowski Park & Nature Center, SW 176 St./SW 79 Ave. 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road. The Park classroom is open for SCAS astronomy activities. Bring chairs, binoculars, dysfunctional telescopes, bug repellent. No white lights, lasers, litter, pets or alcohol at our SCAS Star Parties.

SCAS membership information- please contact


Mark Your Calendar! FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26th Southern Cross Astros will hold a Halloween Star Party 7-10 p.m. in the dark outback of the Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187 Ave. Homestead.
Southern Cross hi-tech equipment will be focused on planets, galaxies, star clusters and more!
Tram rides through the Park, songs by a campfire, snacks and more! Free Family Fun! 305-247-5727.


Friday October 19th Southern Cross Astros will host a free, exciting program 8 p.m., illustrated by Honorary SCAS member Dr.James R. Webb, FIU research astronomer. Stunning images taken by FIU remote telescopes will reveal mysteries in the night skies from Northern Chile, Canary Islands, including the new 24" diameter telescope in the FIU Stocker AstroScience Observatory, Main Campus. The remote telescopes transmit celestial images to the computers in the Observatory classroom. Dr. Webb will describe the FIU research projects for FIU. high school and middle school students held on campus.

Bring family, friends, faculty and students to the FIU Physics lecture hall CP-145, Main campus,SW 109 Ave./SW 8 St. Lively discussions and refreshments conclude the Southern Cross program. Weather permitting, the Observatory roof will be open afterwards. Park in the campus garage, west side of SW 109 Ave. and follow the SCAS signs into CP-145.

SCAS membership information--

WSP 2019 will be held Feb 4 thru 10 in the Florida Keys at Camp Wesumkee. Registration will open on October 1st 2018. Get your tickets early, it's our 35 year celebration!


It is wih 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.


October 13th, 20th and 27th
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, OCTOBER 6th, 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!

Precise Parts

Telescope Engineering Company

Explorer Scientific

ADM Accessories

Day Star Filters

Software Bisque

Losmandy Astronomical Products

Tele Vue

Astro Mart

Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
October 2nd Last Quarter Moon 5:45 am
New Moon Image
October 8th New Moon 11:33 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
October 16th First Quarter Moon 2:07 pm
Full Moon Image
October 24th Full Moon 12:59 pm


Draconid and Orionid Meteor Showers


The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. The comet takes about 6.6 years to make a single revolution around the Sun.SCAS Hotline: 305-661-1375.


The Orionid meteor shower is the second meteor shower created by Comet Halley. The Eta Aquarids in May is the other meteor shower created by debris left by Comet Halley. Halley takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun. It will next be visible from Earth in 2061. Orionids are named after Orion, because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the same area in the sky as the constellation.

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 visible early evening. Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus hanging low in the west

01- At dusk 4 visible planets arch into the SW. Bright ruddy Mars glows in Capricornus in the south; silver Saturn lies in the SW above the Sagirrarian Teapot; golden Jupiter in Libra fades in the WSW; brilliant Venus, Evening Star, descends onto the SW horizon and sets early. Outer planets: Neptune sails across the SE in Aquarius and blue-green Uranus rises in Aries in the SE. Both planets require a telescope.
08- During evening hours, the minor Draconid Meteor Shower occurs In a moonless northern sky. 5-10 Draconids per/hour spew from the Dragon's mouth. Colorful debris from Comet Giacobini-Zinner could show up better than previous years.
New Moon occurs 11:33 p.m.
09- In evening twilight Jupiter drifts lower in the SW. Brilliant Venus resembles a headlight on the SW horizon. Mercury rises to the right of Venus.They set by nightfall.
11- By mid evening the young Moon lies 3 degrees above Jupiter. Binoculars reveal dark Earthshine on the crescent Moon.
14- Saturn and the Moon are 2 degrees apart in the south above the Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy).
16- The MOON floats 5 degrees from Mars in the south. First Quarter MOON occurs 2:07 p.m.
21- ORIONID METEOR SHOWER is comprised of tiny particles in the dust tail of long-gone Comet Halley. The radiant is located near the top of Orion, Hunter, rising in the east by 11:30 p.m. The peak of shower activity occurs in the late afternoon EDT, but about 20 colorful, fast Orionids per/hr. may be visible in the predawn of the 21st from a dark sky site. A few Orionids may be visible during this month.
24- The HUNTER'S MOON is full at 12:59 p.m. The bright MOON rises in the east by sunset and sets in the west at dawn.
28- Jupiter leads huge Scorpius along the SW horizon. Mercury lies 3 degrees below Jupiter.
31- Last Quarter MOON occurs 12:40 p.m.

Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. Libra contains Jupiter low in the SW. Huge Scorpius slinks along the SW horizon, closely followed by the tilted Sagittarian Teapot `pouring' onto the Scorpion's stinger tail. Bright ruddy Mars glows in Capricornus in the south. Grus, Crane stretches its starry neck above the southern horizon. Fomalhaut twinkles below dim Neptune in Aquarius in the SSE. Cetus, Whale swims along the SE horizon. Overhead, Hercules leads bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle westward. Aries, Ram chases Pegasus, Winged Horse higher in the east. The Royal Family arrives in the NE: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. The 7 Sisters (Pleiades) dance on the NE horizon and lead Taurus, Bull into view. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer above the NE horizon.


02- LAST QUARTER MOON occurs at 5:45 a.m. By dawn the stunning winter constellations cover the eastern sky. 05- The MOON leads Leo, Lion above the eastern horizon.
09- The Zodiacal Light may be be visible. A pyramid of diffused sunlight (below the horizon) extends above the eastern horizon reflecting millions of floating space dust particles.
10- The minor meteor shower, SOUTH TAURID METEORS, from Comet Encke, may produce 5 meteors per/hr. radiating from the SE. Fireballs may be within the shower.
21- ORIONID METEOR SHOWER may produce 10-20 per/hr. radiating from Orion overhead 3-6 a.m.
26- The bright MOON forms a triangle with 2 star clusters: Hyades upper left, and Pleiades upper right.
27- At dawn t he MOON nudges ruddy Aldebaran (red giant star)--the red `eye' of the Bull. Superb view in binoculars and telescopic photos.
31- Brilliant Venus, now the Morning Star, appears on the SE horizon before sunrise.

Aries, Ram chases Pegasus onto the western horizon. The Royal Family swings into the NW. The Northern Cross stands on the NW horizon. Westbound Pleiades and Hyades clusters lead Taurus, Bull across the Zenith. Orion, Hunter, strides a cross the south behind the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the SE. The Gemini Twins, Castor & Pollux climb toward the Zenith. The Beehive cluster floats below the Twins. Leo, Lion climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper appears in the NE.

Deepsky BackgroundDeepsky BackgroundDeepsky Background
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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit eiusmod consequat.

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.