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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


December 9,16, 23, 30
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

Register for WSP Today!

Winter Star Party Notice

It's official!!
Registration is now open.

Dear Winter Star Party Participants and Volunteers,

The 2018 Winter Star Party will be held at Chiefland Astronomy Village February 12th through February 18th 2018. Please go to to register for your tickets and pre-order your official Winter Star Party merchandise.


Charlie Perillo
Winter Star Party, Host Coordinator

Register for WSP Today!

"Get your 2018 Astronomy Calendars"

Beautiful 2018 Astronomy magazine wall calendars have arrived! $8.00 ea. Supply is limited. Details:


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18th come to our FREE cook out and New Moon Star Party, 5-11 p.m.hosted by Southern Cross Astros. Bring family, friends, chairs, binoculars, bug repellent to our "Out-Of This World" cook out 5-6:30 p.m. Hi-tech SCAS equipment will be focused on Autumn and Winter stars 7-11 p.m.You might see early Leonid Meteors at the D'Auria Dark Sky Observatory, 23325 SW 217 Avenue, Homestead, 33031. Park outside the gate. NO lasers, lights, litter, alcohol or pets. Sadowski Park Star Party, Palmetto Bay will be closed. 305-661-1375 305-439-1351, SCAS Facebook.

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

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Cloudy Nights

SCAS STARGAZER December 2017 - Barb Yager

Lunar Timetable:

Full Moon Image
Dec 3rd Full Moon 10:46 am
Last Quarter Moon Image
Dec 10th Last Quarter Moon 2:51 am
New Moon Image
Dec 18th New Moon 1:30 am
First Quarter Moon Image
Dec 26th First Quarter 4:20 am


The Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of December 13 and early morning hours of December 14.

A Waning Crescent Moon will make viewing conditions good for the shooting stars.

The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini from where the meteors seem to emerge from in the sky.

Unlike most other meteor showers, the Geminids are associated not with a comet but with an asteroid: 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid takes about 1.4 years to orbit around the Sun.

The Geminids are considered to be one of the more spectacular meteor shower during a year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Geminids:

  • 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- Early evening the bright Moon rises in the east. The Pleiades star cluster (Seven Sisters) lead Taurus, Bull higher in the east. Aldebaran, Bull's red eye (red giant) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face) below the Pleiades. Overhead Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, westward. Mercury lies 2 degrees left from Saturn near the SW horizon. Overhead Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) westward. Vega leads the vast Summer Triangle lower in the NW. Cygnus, Swan, becomes the Northern Cross within the Triangle.

03- The full SUPER MOON, closest in 2017, rises in the ENE before sunset. Mercury has moved to 1 degree left of Saturn on the SW horizon. They will slip into the sunset next week. The tilted Sagittarian Teapot pours onto the SW horizon left of the two planets. Earliest sunsets occur at 5:29 p.m. this week. 13/14- The ANNUAL GEMINID METEOR SHOWER may begin late evening 13th. Dozens of Geminid meteors reach greatest intensity between Midnight to dawn 14th 19- A young crescent Moon appears briefly low in the SW. Each evening the Moon climbs higher in the SW. Great views of dark Earthshine on the lunar surface are visible in binoculars. 30- The bright Moon nudges Aldebaran in Taurus Optical equipment reveals the closest point by the Moon.

Orion, Hunter, reclines in the east. The Great Orion Nebula is visible in his sword below the triple star-studded belt. Cetus, Whale, swims across the south. Phoenix spreads its wings on the southern horizon. Dim, blue Neptune, 2.8 billion miles from Earth, sails across the south in Aquarius and sets in the west by Midnight. Fomalhaut twinkles near the SW horizon. Blue green Uranus floats in Pisces, Fish in the SE, 1.8 billion miles from Earth..The Summer Triangle covers the NW sky. The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus the Hero. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, higher in the NE. MID-EVENING- The Beehive cluster follows the Gemini Twins higher in the NE. LATE EVENING: Procyon, Little Dog in the east follows Orion across the south. Brilliant Sirius, blue eye of Orion's Big Dog, sparkles on the SE horizon.


02- At dawn, ruddy Mars (195 million miles from Earth) lies left of Spica in Virgo in the SE.Jupiter glows between Mars and brilliant Venus sliding onto the SE horizon. 03- The WINTER SUPERMOON is full at 10:47 a.m. The full Moon rises in the ENE before sunset and sets in the NW at dawn.The SUPER MOON will be closest at 3:46 a.m.--the closest in 2017. 08- The waning Moon leads Leo, Lion westward 10- LAST QUARTER MOON occurs 2:51 a.m. 13- In the predawn, the Moon forms a triangle with Spica, in Virgo (right of the Moon) and Mars below the Moon. . 14- The GEMINID METEOR SHOWER may produce dozens of Geminids from Midnight-Dawn at 22 miles per/second. The Moon rises 4 degrees above Jupiter in Libra. 16- At dawn, the old, thin Moon leads Scorpius above the SE horizon. 18- NEW MOON occurs 1:30 a.m. 21- WINTER SOLSTICE occurs 11:28 a.m. when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. Nights are longest and days are shortest. 22 Mercury left the evening sky,traveled around the Sun on its shortest orbit, and now appears on the ESE horizon. 26- FIRST QUARTER MOON joccurs at 4:20 a.m. 29- Jupiter glows 5 degrees from Mars in the east. 31- At dawn, Mercury rises in the SE left of Antares (red heart in huge Scorpius.

Three planets visible in the east: Mars, Jupiter and Mercury. The Gemini Twins stride Midnight. Leo the Lion crawls toward the Zenith. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Corvus flies ahead of Spica, in Virgo high in the SE. .Orion chases Taurus the Bull westward.

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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.