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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


March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st
23325 SW 217 Ave.
Homestead, FL 33031

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 outside the property and walk in. There is no public vehicle access permitted at the observatory. Until the permit to offer SCAS Star Parties in MiamiDade Parks becomes official re: the Shannon Melendi Predators Law, Star Parties at Bill Sadowski Park will be closed Saturdays until further notice. We look forward to our return to all MiamiDade Parks in the near future.

Miami-Dade County Activities Canceled

Temporary Cancellation, Sadowski, Fruit & Spice Park, Zoo Miami and Shark Valley

Due to complications with Miami-Dade county permitting process, until further notice, all our programs at Miami-Dade county parks are cancelled. Sadowski Park, Zoo Miami, Shark Valley and Fruit and Spice Park. We will announce when we will resume operations here and on our Facebook page.


Russ Brick
President, Southern Cross Astronomical Society


SATURDAY, January 13th, 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.

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Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
April 8th Last Quarter Moon 3:35 am
New Moon Image
April 15th New Moon 9:59 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
April 22nd First Quarter Moon 5:48 pm
Full Moon Image
April 29th Full Moon 8:53 pm



The April shower may be visible April 16-25th but the max activity occurs 22nd/23rd. The Lyrids were first observed in China in 687 B.C. Earth cruises through the colorful debris from the tail of Comet Thatcher suspended in space. Late evening, bright Vega leads the vast Summer Triangle above the NE horizon. The Lyrids radiate from Lyra the Harp constellation beside Vega. They zip into our atmosphere at 110,000 mph producing about 15 meteors per hour, including a fireball (meteor brighter than Venus). Early Lyrids may be visible by 11 p.m. 4/21.The Lyrids max occurs in daytime in the eastern time zone The Lyrid Meteors are most active 4-6 a.m. when the radiant is overhead April 22 and 23rd. Moonset occurs 2 a.m.


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


01- About 45 minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus glows in Taurus, Bull, 10 degrees above the WNW horizon. By 10:45 p.m., bright Jupiter rises in the ESE in Libra.
12- The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) dance above the Evening Star in the WNW. They set by mid-evening.
15- New Moon occurs 9:59 p.m.
17-The young Moon floats 5 degrees left of Venus in the WNW Great view in binoculars.
18-The Moon lies 3 degrees from Aldebaran. Beautiful imaging.
20- The Moon drifts above Orion, Hunter low in the west.
21- The Moon floats 3 degrees below the Beehive star cluster in Cancer, Crab. Before Midnight early Lyrid Meteors may be visible.
22- First Quarter Moon occurs at 5:48 p.m.
23- By nightfall the Moon leads Leo, Lion across the Zenith. The Big Dipper hangs in the north.
28- At dusk, brilliant Venus glows between two star clusters: Hyades left and the Pleiades on the lower right. Beautiful photo!
29- The Easter Moon is full at 8: 53 p.m. and rises at dusk in the ESE near Jupiter.
30- Jupiter now rises in Libra early evening in the ESE. Jupiter will lie opposite the Sun May 8-9th

Winter stars slide toward the western horizon and set by mid-evening late April: Capella, Taurus, Orion, Procyon, Gemini Twins, Sirius in the SW followed by the Pups in the south. The Big Dipper hangs in the north Bright Arcturus sparkles in the east. Hercules brings Vega and the Summer Triangle higher in the NE.


02- Mars and Saturn rise about 2:30 a.m. in the SE. They are 1.3 degrees apart above the Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) and 0.4 degree from M-22 nebula. Mars is 103 million miles from Earth.
03- The past full Moon floats above Jupiter in Libra.
04- The Moon leads huge Scorpius across the south.
07- At dawn the Moon nudges Saturn in the SE.
08- Last Quarter Moon occurs at 3:35 a.m.
09- Mars and Saturn float between the handle of the Teapot and the Teaspoon in the SE.
22- Mercury appears on the eastern horizon 30 minutes before sunrise.
LYRID METEOR SHOWER is most active between 4-6 a.m., radiating from Lyra near bright Vega, the leading star in the Summer Triangle. Moonset occurs at 2 a.m. The Lyrid Meteors, colorful debris from Comet Thatcher, may produce 15 meteors per hour in the predawn.
27- Mars and Saturn are now 13 degrees apart above the Teapot.
29- Mercury reaches its highest altitude 5 degrees above the eastern horizon.
30- Saturn rises in the SE about 12:15 a.m. followed by Mars at 1:30 a.m. Mars is now 79 million miles from Earth and its diameter has increased by 30%. Neptune appears on the eastern horizon. Uranus cruises behind the Sun.

Leo, Lion stalks the western horizon. Corvus, Crow leads Spica, in Virgo the SpringMaiden, low in the SW. Bright Jupiter glows against the stars of Libra in the SW. Huge Scorpius crawls into the SSW followed by the Sagittarian Teapot in the south. Fomalhaut twinkles in Aquarius in the SE. Hercules brings Vega and the Summer Triangle higher in the NE. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. The Big Dipper swings into the NW.

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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.