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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


Friday, July 19th Southern Cross Astros will schedule a SaturnWatch 8-10:30 p.m. in the dark outback of the Fruit & Spice Park 24801 SW 187 Ave., Homestead. Hi tech equipment will be focused on silver Saturn encircled in icy rings and brilliant Jupiter--both on their closest visit to Earth. See the Big Dipper.

SCAS free Programs at FIU will be on hiatus until September 20th.

Public Star Parties 8-10:30 p.m. Saturdays all year:
FIU Observatory SW 109 Ave./SW 8 St. W. Miami
Bill Sadowski Park, SW 176 St./SW 79 Ave. Palmetto Bay 33157
D'Auria Observatory, 23325 SW 217 Ave. Homestead 33031


On selected Saturdays or Sundays during the coming year, weather permitting, come see SCAS free, safe solarviewing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., near 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 July 5th and july 27th

D'Auria Observatory dusk-10 p.m. 23325 SW 217 Ave. Homestead. SCAS hi-tech equipment will be focused on deep sky objects.

Bring chairs, binoculars, dysfunctional telescopes, bug repellent.

Starting last month and continuing on the D'Auria Observatory will be open each and every Saturday night. The observatory is located at 23325 SW 217th Ave, Homestead.

No white lights, lasers, litter, pets or alcohol at our SCAS Star Parties.

Please be reminded that there is no public vehicle traffic permitted in the observatory property. Park outside with your headlights towards the road so there will be no light splash onto the observing field. When you walk thru the gate, please be mindful of the other guests and astronomers observing and imaging so no cell phone flashlights. Pictures are permitted but please ask first.

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.


July 13th, 20th, and the 27th.

Bill Sadowsky Park
17555 SW 79th Ave.
Palmetto Bay, Fl. 33157

D'Auria Observatory
23325 SW 217th 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 in the parking lot and walk over to the observing pad.
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!

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Lunar Timetable:

New Moon Image
July 2nd New Moon 3:16 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
July 9th First Quarter Moon 6:52 am
Full Moon Image
July 16th Full Moon 5:36 pm
Last Quarter Moon Image
July 24th Last Quarter Moon 5:42 am
New Moon Image
July 31st New Moon 10:58 pm



This week presents the nominal peak of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower. That supposed peak comes during the predawn hours on or near July 28, 2019. Should you set your alarm and get up to watch the shower? Maybe. However, the Delta Aquariids are a long, rambling shower, stretching out out for weeks beyond their nominal peak. Because the peak itself is not very definite the shower might be even better at the end of the month, around the time of new moon (August 1, 2019, at 3:12 UTC). With no moon at all in late July/early August 2019, this could be the best time to watch for these rather faint meteors. You may see as many as 10 to 15 meteors per hour in a dark sky.

On the other hand, if you do get up early on July 27 or 28, you can see the waning crescent moon moving through Taurus. And you might catch some Delta Aquarids as well.

No matter where you are on Earth and no matter whether you watch this week, or in the next few weeks, the most favorable viewing window for the Delta Aquarids begins around 1 a.m. (2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time). Watch through the onset of morning dawn. Although this shower is visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, it tends to favor the more southerly latitudes. North of the equator, it’s better seen in the tropical and subtropical regions rather than farther north. This shower combines with the more-famous Perseid meteor shower, now also rising to its peak, but whose peak in 2019 will have to contend with the light of a bright moon.

That is why the coming week or so from now through early August might present your best opportunity to watch meteors. That is in contrast to waiting for the Perseids peak mornings. By the time of the Perseid meteor showers annual peak around August 12 or 13, 2019, the moonlight will be washing some of the meteors in its glare.

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


5 evening planets are visible:
Jupiter and Saturn with minor planet Pluto rising in the SE with Mars and Venus setting in the NW

03- At dusk look to the WNW for the celestial line up: L-R: Mercury, Mars, Pollux & Castor (Twins in Gemini). 1-day old Moon shines briefly below them.
04- At 6 p.m. Earth arrives at the farthest distance from the Sun, 94.5 million miles. The Beehive cluster shimmers 5 degrees above Mercury.
05- By nightfall the Moon leads Leo, Lion lower in the west. In the south, bright Jupiter glows left of red supergiant Antares--the "heart" beating in huge Scorpius. Silver Saturn rises in the SE.
09- At 1 p.m. Saturn lies opposite the Sun. Saturn will be brightest and closest to Earth all month. The planet will be visible from dusk to dawn.
11- Bright Moon leads Scorpius into the south.
13- Tonight the Moon glows 4 degrees from Jupiter, surrounded by its four closest satellite moons. Ruddy Mars descends onto the WNW horizon.
15- By nightfall the Moon floats 2 degrees from Saturn and the Teaspoon asterism.
16- The full Thunder Moon, in Sagittarius, occurs at 5:36 p.m. It rises in the SE at sunset and sets in the SW at dawn.
19- SCAS SATURNWATCH 8-10:30 p.m. Fruit & Spice Park 24801 SW 187 Ave.Homestead.
21- 50th Anniversary of the NASA Apollo Moon Landing.
24- Last Quarter Moon occurs 9:20 p.m. 31- New Moon occurs 11:12 p.m.
30 By midnight, early S. DELTA AQUARID METEORS may be seen radiating from Aquarius in SE.
31- New Moon occurs 10:58 p.m.

Birds of Summer glide across the sky: Corvus, Crow low in SW; Aquila, Eagle in SE; Cygnus, Swan within the Summer Triangle in the east. The Lion stalks the western horizon. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. Huge Scorpius crawls into the south. The Sagittarian Trapot (center of our Galaxy)

SCAS free programs are on break for the summer. We will return to the FIU campus September 20th


3 Planets visible in the morning:
Jupiter and Saturn with minor plante Pluto in West. Neptune rising in the east

01- In twilight brilliant Venus (Morning Star) descends 2 degrees abov e the NE horizon. The old Moon rises 4 degrees from Venus.
02- NEW MOON occurs 3:16 a.m.
09- FIRST QUARTER MOON occurs 6:52 a.m. 14- At 11 a.m. Pluto lies opposite the Sun and is closest to Earth.
16- The FULL MOON snuggles with Saturn 0.2 degrees at 3 a.m. in SW.
21- At 4 a.m. the Moon lies 4 degrees below Neptune in Aquarius.
25- At 3 a.m. the Moon floats 5 degrees below blue-green Uranus.
26- In early dawn the waning Moon rises in the east to the right of the Pleiades cluster (7 Sisters).
27- The old Moon drifts near the V-shaped Hyades cluster in Taurus, Bull
30- At dawn, the thin crescent Moon floats between rising Gemini Twins (left) and Orion, Hunter (right) Mercury rises 1 degree above the ENE horizon. In the predawn, S. DELTA AQUARID METEORS may be visible under a dark sky, radiating from SE horizon about 25 per/hr.

The Summer Triangle dominates the west. Neptune sails across the south, above Fomalhaut, in Aquarius. Aries, Ram chases Pegasus to the Zenith.The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. The delicate Pleiades lead Taurus, Bull and the Hyades cluster with Aldebaran higher in the east. Bright Capella guides Auriga higher in the NE. The Gemini Twins and Orion rise in the east.

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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.