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Bill Sadowski Park

Deering Estate

Zoo Miami


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

Winter Star Party Notice

Dear Winter Star Party Participants and Volunteers,

As you all know the site of Winter Star Party, Camp Wesumkee, has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. The reports and photos we have received paints a bleak picture for the Girl Scout Camp. With this in mind, we are considering alternative plans in order to hold Winter Star Party #34. We’ve had offers from people to volunteer their time helping to do camp clean up as well as alternate sites to hold our event. Be patient and know that we are considering all options. We’ll keep you posted on the web site as well as the wsp_florida yahoo discussion group and Facebook.


Charlie Perillo
Winter Star Party, Host Coordinator



Saturday evenings closest to the New Moon: July 22, August 19, September 16 and October 21, SCAS Astros invite one and all to our NEW MOON STAR PARTIES at the SCAS D'Auria Dark Sky Observatory, dusk -11 p.m. 23325 SW 217 Avenue, Homestead 33031. Bring chairs, bug repellent, binoculars and telescopes if you like. SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment focused on stunning summer constellations, Jupiter and Saturn. NO lasers, lights, litter, alcohol or pets. SCAS Observation Deck, Bill Sadowski Park, SW 176 St ./SW 79 Ave. Palmetto Bay 33157 will be closed ONLY on those dates.


Star Party

SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment in the dark outback of the historic Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187 Ave. Homestead, FL 33031. Bring family and friends, wear your Hallowe'en costume and view Autumn constellations, Andromeda Galaxy, star clusters, Saturn and a First Quarter Moon. Ride the Park tram through the gardens, enjoy refreshments, a campfire and singalong! Bring chairs. blankets, bug repellent. Free admission! 305-279-5727.

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

SCAS STARGAZER September 2017 - Barb Yager

Lunar Timetable:

First Quarter Moon Image
Aug 29th First Quarter 4:12 am
Full Moon Image
Sept 6th Full Moon 3:02 am
Last Quarter Moon Image
Sept 13th Last Quarter Moon 2:24 am
New Moon Image
Sept 20th New Moon 1:29 am

Clear Sky Chart

Evening Skies:

  • 1st- Bright Jupiter glows 4 degrees above Spica in Virgo low in SW. Jupiter sets 1 hour and 44 minutes after sunset. The AURIGID METEOR SHOWER may produce a few early meteors, radiating from Capella in NE by midnight.
  • 4th- Neptune rises in SE by nightfall. It will be brightest and closest to Earth when it reaches opposition to the Sun soon after midnight.
  • 6th- At dusk the bright Autumn full Moon rises in the east.
  • 15th- SCAS ECLIPSE PARTY, 8 p.m. FIU Physics lecture hall CP-145, Main campus. A collection of stunning total and partial eclipse images taken by SCAS members in Miami, at FIU and out of state.
  • 17th- Tonight aim telescopes 11 p.m. to silver Saturn and 4 satellite moons on the same side of the planet.
  • 21st-22nd- Final views of Jupiter 3 degrees above Spica on the SW horizon. Focus binoculars on the young crescent Moon and dark Earthshine as the Moon glides near Jupiter both evenings.
  • 22nd- AUTUMNAL EQUINOX occurs at 4:02 p.m. When the southbound Sun crosses the Equator, daytime and night become almost equal for several nights. The Sun rises due east and sets due west, creating a hazard for drivers on east-west roads.
  • 24th- The Moon leads huge Scorpius into SW.
  • 25th- Tonight the Moon floats above ruddy Antares (red super giant)--the heart beating in the Scorpion's torso.
  • 26th- The Moon glows 3 degrees above Saturn in SW.
  • 27th- The Moon lies above the tilted Sagittarian Teapot pouring onto the Scorpion's stinger tail in SW. First quarter Moon occurs at 10:54 p.m.
  • 30th- Jupiter fades on the SW horizon and sets 50 minutes after sunset.

CONSTELLATIONS- The Big Dipper swings across the NW. Bright Arcturus (red giant star) sparkles in the west, beyond the Big Dipper's handle.Spica, Spring Maiden in Virgo, sets in SW during the Autumnal Equinox. Aim binoculars at 2 summer constellations in SW: Scorpius and Sagittarius, to view dozens of deep sky objects in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Libra twinkles low in SW. Capricornus lies in the south. Aquarius holds dim blue Neptune and Fomalhaut in SE. Overhead, Hercules leads bright Vega (near Lyra the Harp) and the vast Summer Triangle toward the west. 3 point stars: Vega-west, Deneb-north, and Aquila (Eagle)-south comprise the points of the Triangle. Cygnus, Swan soars within the Triangle. Mid-evening: Aries, Ram leaps off the eastern horizon and chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) toward the Zenith. The Royal Family arrives in NE: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. Bright Capella brings Auriga, Charioteer above the NE horizon.Late evening- blue-green Uranus rises in SE in Pisces, Fish. . Neptune rises in Aquarius in the SE mid-evening. Blue-green Uranus, in Pisces the Fish, appears in the east by Midnight. Pegasus, Winged Horse, climbs above the eastern horizon. Andromeda Galaxy appears low in the NE.

Morning Skies:

  • 1st- The minor AURIGID METEOR SHOWER may produce a dozen meteors radiating from Capella in NE 4-6 a.m.
  • 5th- By 6 a.m. brilliant Venus, (Morning Star) glows 5 degrees below the Beehive cluster in Cancer, Crab in the east. Mercury gleams low in the east. Ruddy Mars nudges the star Regulus, Lion, below Mercury. Neptune lies opposite the Sun at 1 a.m. and sails across the south.
  • 6th- At 1 a.m. the bright Moon drifts 0.8 degrees below Neptune. The Autumn Moon is full at 3:03 a.m.
  • 7th- At dawn, a celestial trio forms below Venus in the east: The star Regulus twinkles between Mercury above and Mars below.
  • 10th- Mercury and Regulus dance low in NE.
  • 12th- Mercury climbs to its highest altitude in the east.
  • 13th- Last Quarter Moon occurs at 2:25 a.m. By dawn, a celestial line up forms low in the east beside Leo, Lion: brilliant Venus, Regulus, Mercury and Mars at the bottom.
  • 16th- Mars and Mercury dance together near the eastern horizon.
  • 18th- The waning Moon rises in the east between two celestial partners: Venus and Regulus above; Mars and Mercury below the Moon.
  • 19th/20th- At dawn, Venus and Regulus dance together above Mercury and Mars in the east.
  • 20th- New Moon occurs at 1:30 a.m. The Zodiacal Light may be visible rising in a pyramid of diffused sunlight from the eastern horizon. Near the Equinox reflected sunlight below the horizon shines on zillions of tiny dust particles in outer space.
  • 29th- Venus rises about 5 a.m. above Mars in the east. Mercury has slipped into bright sunrise.

CONSTELLATIONS: Brilliant winter stars arch overhead. The Royal Family reigns in the north. Delicate Pleiades cluster leads Taurus, Bull to the Zenith. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer higher in NE. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull's red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face). The Gemini Twins, Castor & Pollux stride higher in NE followed by the Beehive cluster. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east followed by Procyon, Little Dog. Brilliant blue Sirius, a nearby star. sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in SE. Leo, Lion crawls higher in the east escorted by Venus, Mars and Mercury.

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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.