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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


Wednesday, February 15, 2018
We had a visitor today, Winter Star Party founder and past SCAS president, Tippy D'Auria


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16th bring family, friends, future astronomers and students to witness FIRE IN THE SKY at FIU. The FREE astronomy program, hosted by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society, will explain how brilliant Auroras (Northern Lights) are formed by the Sun and dance overhead from northern latitudes near the North Pole--and above the Antarctic. Colorful auroras are photographed and reflected on sparkling snow and lakes. See Mother Nature's dazzling celestial display rarely visible from South Florida. Come to the FIU Physics lecture hall CP-145 at 8 p.m, FRIDAY February 16th, Main Campus. Park in the campus garage on the west side of SW 109 Avenue/ 8 Street in faculty or visitors spaces, and follow the SCAS signs across the street into CP-145.


To honor all our Military Veterans bring family, friends, students, future astronomers, chairs, snacks, binoculars, telescopes and bug repellent to our SCAS MILITARY VETERANS STAR PARTY, 7-10 p.m. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18th SHARK VALLEY, south side of Tamiami Trail, Everglades National Park. Monday 19th- Presidents Day schools, banks, P.O. and government offices will be closed. Southern Cross hi-tech equipment will be focused on blazing winter constellations. star clusters, a very young crescent Moon, Earthshine and more under a very dark night sky.The Visitors Center Store will be open. NO white lights, lanterns, lasers, litter, alcohol or pets., Southern Cross Astronomical Society Facebook


January 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
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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Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
Feb 7th Last Quarter Moon 11:19 am
New Moon Image
Feb 15th New Moon 4:01 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
Feb 23rd First Quarter 3:02 am
Full Moon Image
Mar 1st Full Moon 7:32 pm


February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earthgrazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April and seems to occur mostly during the early evening hours. Rates are near maximum for those viewing from the Southern hemisphere. There are no strong showers this month but sporadic rates are well in excess of 10 per hour as seen from mid-southern latitudes.

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


VENUS, Evening Star arrives in the west.

From a dark sky site, the Zodiacal Light is visible by nightfall on the western horizon first two weeks of the month.

01- By 8 p.m.the past full Moon escorts Leo, Lion above the ENE horizon.
02/4- Northbound COMET PANSTARRS, at 10 magnitude, cruises 3 degrees left of the Pleiades star cluster overhead.
08- At midnight the waning Moon lies between ruddy MARS, above the head of huge Scorpius and bright JUPITER in Libra in the SSE.
15- NEW MOON occurs at 4:01 p.m.
16- At dusk, the young crescent Moon floats briefly 3 degrees above brilliant VENUS making her evening debut on the western horizon.
18/20- The crescent Moon floats in the SW. Aim binoculars to the dark Earthshine on the lunar surface.
20/21- Dim NEPTUNE, in Aquarius, lies 1 degree from VENUS near the western horizon.
22- The Moon forms a triangle with two star clusters: the V-shaped Hyades upper left and the Pleiades upper right of the Moon.
23- The Moon floats 4 degrees left of Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster.
28- Tonight the Moon escorts Leo, Lion above the eastern horizon. The Moon drifts 1 degree from Regulus in Leo.
By nightfall, MERCURY rises 2 degrees below VENUS near the western horizon. Blue-green URANUS lies in Pisces the Fish near the western horizon.

Cetus, Whale, dives onto the SW horizon. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, onto the western horizon. The Royal Family: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero swing into the NW. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades) lead Taurus, Bull westward. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the north. The Beehive star cluster follows the Gemini Twins to the Zenith. Gigantic Orion, Hunter strides across the south in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the SE. Leo, Lion climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper appears in the NE.


3 planets visible in the east.

01- Bright JUPITER rises in the east 2 a.m. in Libra. Ruddy MARS, 145 million miles from Earth, rises in the SE above Scorpius by 3 a.m. Silver SATURN rises about 5 a.m. above the Sagittarian Teapot in the SE. The bright Moon leads the Lion lower in the west at dawn.
07- LAST QUARTER MOON occurs 11:19 a.m.
08- The waning Moon floats left of JUPITER in Libra in the south--between JUPITER and MARS.
09- The Moon lies left of Mars 5 degrees above Antares in Scorpius in the SSE.
11- The Moon drifts 2 degrees from SATURN above the Sagittarian Teapot in the SE.
12- The old Moon lies 1 degree from the stellar Teaspoon in the SE.
23- FIRST QUARTER MOON occurs at 3:02 a.m.

Leo the Lion stalks the western horizon. Spica, in Virgo, low in the SW. Libra twinkles in the SSW Huge Scorpius crawls into the south. The Sagittarian Teapot rises in the SE. Vega brings the vast Summer Triangle higher in the east. The Big Dipper hangs in the north.Bright Arcturus sparkles beyond the handle of the Big Dipper. The Little Dipper's handle is attached to Polaris, North Star.
The ZODIACAL LIGHT may be visible as a pyramid of diffused sunlight rising from the western horizon at nightfall. Zillions of space dust particles are reflected in sunlight below the horizon. This occurs the first two weeks of this month.

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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.