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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



Weather permitting Tuesday, July 31 SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment 7:30-9:30 p.m. along the shore of Deering Estate at Cutler, SW 168 St. Palmetto Bay 33157.
Fiery Mars will make its closest pass by Earth since 2003 at 35.8 million miles away. With clear to partly clear skies, dark details and white polar caps may be visible if the huge dust storm is reduced on the Martian surface. Mars glows in Capricornus in the SE-SW all night during the summer and may show details in binoculars. Mars makes a close pass by Earth every 2 1/2 years. The next "closest visit" by the Warrior Planet will occur in 2035. A great educational family event! Bring chairs, blankets and bug repellent. 305-235-1668., Southern Cross Astronomical Society Facebook


June 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 30th
Bill Sadowsky Park
17555 SW 79th Ave.
Palmetto Bay, Fl. 33157

Southern Cross returns to Bill Sadowski Park on Saturday May 5th.

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, JULY 12th, 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!

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Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
July 6th Last Quarter Moon 3:43 am
New Moon Image
July 12th New Moon 10:56 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
July 19th First Quarter Moon 3:49 pm
Full Moon Image
July 27th Full Moon 4:21



Southern Delta Aquariids Active from July 21st to August 23rd , 2018

The Delta Aquariids are another strong shower best seen from the southern tropics. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south. These meteors produce good rates for a week centered on the night of maximum. These are usually faint meteors that lack both persistent trains and fireballs.

Radiant: 22:40 -16.4° - ZHR: 16 - Velocity: 26 miles/sec (medium - 42km/sec) - Parent Object: 96P/Machholz?

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



5 planets are visible

01-Neptune rises in the SE about Midnight. The bright Moon floats 3 degrees from Neptune.
02- By nightfall brilliant Venus leads Leo, Lion lower in the west. Venus and the star Regulus (in Leo) about 8 degrees apart. The Evening Star sets by 10 p.m. Mercury rises to the lower right of Venus.
03- Mercury is 1 degree from the Beehive cluster, in Cancer, and 7 degrees above the WNW horizon. Bright Jupiter is in the SSW in Libra. Silver Saturn lies above the Sagittarian Teapot in the SE. Ruddy Mars rises in the SE about 10:30 p.m.
06- At 1 p.m. Earth will be farthest from the Sun 94,507,803 miles.
09- Venus and Regulus drift 1 degree apart.
11- Mercury reaches its highest altitude above the WNW horizon.
12- NEW MOON occurs at 10:56 p.m. Pluto lies opposite the Sun.
14- Young Moon and Mercury are 2 degrees apart.
15- Venus, Queen of the Night, meets the young crescent Moon 1.6 degrees away low in the west. Binoculars reveal the dark Earthshine on the Moon. Great photography!
16- Descending Mercury hugs the WNW horizon and sets early.
19- First Quarter Moon occurs 3:49 p.m.
20- Tonight the Moon glides 4 degrees above Jupiter in Libra. Bright Mars rises in SE mid-evening.
22- Tonight the Moon drifts above huge Scorpius in the south.
24- Silver Saturn and the bright Moon dance 2 degrees apart above the Sagittarian Teapot.
26- Bright Mars, in Capricornus, lies opposite the Sun and will be very bright all Summer.
27- The Thunder Moon is full at 4:21 p.m. rises in the SE before sunset,7 degrees left of Mars.
30- SOUTHERN DELTA AQUARID METEORS- the minor shower occurs after Midnight. In a dark sky area, about 20 meteors may be visible radiating from a point below the bright Moon and above the star Fomalhaut in Aquarius in the SE.
31- Mars swings closest to Earth every 2 1/2 years on its annual orbit around the Sun. Tonight Mars will be 35,785,000 miles from Earth, its closest since 2003. The next closest pass by Mars will occur in 2035. Tuesday July 31, a MAR SWATCH is scheduled 7:30 -9:30 the Deering Estate at Cutler, SW 168 St. Palmetto Bay 33157. Southern Cross Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment on the shore to focus on Mars, Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Mercury has set on its close orbit around the Sun.

The celestial Birds of Summer glide across the warm night skies. Corvus, Crow leads Virgo, SpringMaiden and Spica lower in the SW. Cygnus, Swan soars within the vast Summer Triangle near the Zenith. Aquila, Eagle, perches on the southern point star Altair in the Triangle. Leo, Lion stalks the western horizon near Venus and Mercury. The Big Dipper swings into the NW. Jupiter glows in Libra in the SSW. Huge Scorpius crawls across the south. Bright Antares (red supergiant)is the heart beating in the Scorpion's torso. The Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) lies in the SSE. Bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, leads the Summer Triangle toward the Zenith. Capricornus in the SE with Mars. Aquarius, with Neptune, in the ESE. Pegasus, Winged Horse, low in the east. The Royal Family arrives on the NE horizon.


01- At dawn, the delicate Pleiades star cluster leads Taurus, Bull and Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster higher in the ENE. Silver Saturn lies above the Sagittarian Teapot low in the SW. Bright Mars, in Capricornus, glows in the SW. Neptune drifts across the south in Aquarius. Blue-green Uranus rises in the east in Aries, Ram before dawn.
06- Last Quarter Moon occurs 3:49 a.m.
09- At dawn, the waning Moon rises ENE lower right of the Pleiades cluster.
10- By 6 a.m. the thin crescent Moon rises 2 degrees from ruddy Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster. Great photography!
25- Moon floats 2 degrees from Saturn at 2 a.m.
28/30- S.DELTA AQUARID METEORS, a minor shower, reach peak activity in the predawn radiating from Aquarius in the south. Weather permitting, 15-20 Delta Aquarids per hour may be visible from a dark sky area before dawn with a bright Moon. Fiery Mars is closest to Earth.

The Sagittarian Teapot with Saturn low in the WSW. Bright Mars in Capricornus in the SW. The Big Dipper lies on the NW horizon. Hercules leads Vega and the Summer Triangle overhead. Neptune in Aquarius above Fomalhaut in the south. Pegasus, Winged Horse, rises in the east. Aries, Ram, with Uranus appear low in the east. The Pleiades lead Taurus, Bull higher in the ENE. The Royal Family arrives on the NNE horizon.

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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.