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


Friday, March 15th, dusk - 10 p.m. catch the last complete views of blazing winter constellations. .Southern Cross hi-tech equipment at Shark Valley, Tamiami Trail, Everglades National Park.
A concrete observation deck has been installed between the parking area and the canal.
Please dim headlights when entering the parking area.
Bring family, friends, students, chairs, snacks, water, binoculars and bug repellent.

Use caution driving west. Sunset will be due west EDT.
NO lasers, white lights, litter, loud music, alcohol or pets. Alligators, etc are nearby.
Park office: 305-221-8776.


Saturday, February 16th SCAS free, safe solarviewing will return 11 the ticket entrance at ZooMiami 12400 SW 152 Street.The Sun is in its quiet time but a sudden fiery prominence can always appear. Students interested in solar energy may benefit by this program

SATURDAY March 2nd

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.

STAR PARTIES- Weather Permitting--SATURDAY January 12th, 19th and 26th, SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment 6-10 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


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.


March 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th
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 Saturday (December 8th) 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.



Each month on the Saturday closest to the new moon, 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 REMAIN OPEN DURING THE NEW MOON STAR PARTY!

About Us Calendar The Winter Star Party Become A Member Today!

Starry Night Pro

Sky Safari

Outdoor Sport Optics

Precise Parts

Telescope Engineering Company

Explorer Scientific

ADM Accessories

Day Star Filters

Software Bisque

Losmandy Astronomical Products

Tele Vue

Astro Mart


Lunar Timetable:

New Moon Image
March 6th New Moon 10:50 am
First Quarter Moon Image
March 14th First Quarter Moon 5:16 am
Full Moon Image
March 20th Full Moon 8:28 pm
Last Quarter Moon Image
March 27th Last Quarter Moon 11:38 pm



As seen from the northern hemisphere, March is the slowest month of the year for meteor activity. No major annual showers are active and only a few very weak minor showers produce activity this month. The sporadic rates are also near their annual minimum so there is not much to look forward to this month except for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year as seen from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the Antapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours. From the southern hemisphere, activity from the Centaurid complex begins to wane with only the weak activity visible from Norma and perhaps others nearby areas. At least southern sporadic rates are still strong to make the late summer viewing a bit more pleasurable.
During this period the moon will reach its new phase on Wednesday March 6th. At this time the moon will be located near the sun and will be invisible at night. This weekend the waning crescent moon will rise during the morning hours but will not interfere with meteor observing as long as you keep the moon out of your field of view. Hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 5 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 7 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 12 from the southern tropics. The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brighter meteors will be visible from such locations.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for meteors and fireballs during December:
  • 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


Dim Mars. blue-green Uranus in the west; Mercury near western horizon.

01- Mercury hovers 5 degrees above the western horizon and sets by 7:30 p.m. Dim ruddy Mars hangs high in the west near Aries the Ram. Telescopes are needed to view blue-green Uranus, in Pisces, below Mars.
07- The very young Moon floats briefly 2 degrees above the western horizon. Mercury lies right of the Moon. They set very early.
09- The crescent Moon shines 7 degrees below Mars in the west. Aim binoculars to dark Earthshine on the lunar surface.
11- The Moon floats 7 degrees left of Mars.
12- Aldebaran, red eye of Taurus the Bull, and the Moon are 5 degrees apart. The Pleiades star cluster is 8 degrees to the right of the Moon.
15- Mercury slides into the sunset glare on the western horizon.
SCAS STAR PARTY - Shark Valley, Everglades Nat'l Park, Tamiami Trail.
16- Mars 8 degrees below the Pleiades in the west.
18- The bright Moon glows 2 degrees from Regulus in Leo, Lion.
20- The VERNAL EQUINOX occurs at 5:58 p.m. when the northbound Sun arrives on the Equator marking the advent of Spring in the northern hemisphere. Daylight and night are almost equal for several days. The Sun rises due east and sets due west. Drivers on east-west roads be cautious during sunrise and sunset. The SPRING MOON is full at 9:43 pm. rising in the east after sunset.
23- By nightfall, Mars forms an isosceles triangle with the Pleiades (above) and Aldebaran to the upper left.
31- Mars lies 3 degrees below the delicate Pleiades cluster (Seven Sisters).

Aries, Ram chases the Winged Horse (Great Square of Pegasus) onto the western horizon. The Pleiades cluster (Seven Sisters) leads Taurus, Bull lower in the west. Aldebaran, Bull's red eye, winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face). Orion, Hunter, strides into the west followed by his Little Dog, Procyon. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles from Orion's Big Dog in the SW. The PUPS follow the Big Dog. The Gemini Twins Castor & Pollux jog across the Zenith followed by the Beehive cluster in Cancer, Crab. Leo, Lion climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper rises in the NE. Bright Arcturus (red giant) sparkles low in the NE. Spica, in Virgo, Spring Maiden appears in the ESE. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer across the NW.The Royal Family: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus swing low in the NW.


3 planets visible rising in the predawn skies. Jupiter, Saturn and Venus

01- Before 6 a.m. aim binoculars & camera to the waning Moon rising 2 degrees from Saturn, left of the Sagittarian Teapot in the SE.
02- This morning, do the same for views of the Moon 3 degrees from brilliant Venus in Capricornus low in the SE. Jupiter glows left of huge Scorpius in the SSE.
06- New Moon occurs 10:50 a.m.
10- Daylight Savings Time begins!
14- First Quarter Moon occurs at 5:16 a.m.
20- Before dawn the full Moon follows the Lion into the west.
22- Before sunrise, the bright Moon glows near Spica, in Virgo, SpringMaiden.
25- At dawn, the waning Moon leads huge Scorpius across the south.
27- The Moon glides near Jupiter in the SSE.
28- Last Quarter Moon occurs 11:38 p.m.
29- The Moon lies 3 degrees from Saturn in the SE.
31- Descending Venus, Morning Star, hovers above the ESE horizon.

Leo, Lion stalks the western horizon. The Big Dipper swings into the NW. Corvus, Crow leads Spica in Virgo, SpringMaiden low in the SW. Libra drifts across the SSW. Scorpius crawls across the south followed by the Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) in the SSE. Bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, leads the vast Summer Triangle higher in the east. Pegasus appears low in the east at dawn as Neptune rises in Aquarius.

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.