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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


March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st
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.

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

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Telescope Engineering Company

Explorer Scientific

ADM Accessories

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Losmandy Astronomical Products

Tele Vue

Astro Mart

Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

Full Moon Image
Mar 1st Full Moon 7:33 pm
Last Quarter Moon Image
March 9th Last Quarter Moon 6:48 am
New Moon Image
March 17th New Moon 8:02 am
First Quarter Moon Image
March 24th First Quarter Moon 10:48 am
Full Moon Image
Mar 31st Full Moon 7:17 am


Two full Moons occur: March 1st and 31st. The latter is the Easter Full Moon---also the Blue Moon, the 2nd full moon within a calendar month. The next Blue Moon will occur October 2020. Beautiful winter constellations drift lower in the west.


March meteors are tough to find. A minor shower could develop between Virgo and Leo early in the month. Sporadic meteors may be visible during the dark of the Moon.

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


01- Full LENTEN MOON occurs 7:33 p.m. The Moon escorts Leo, Lion higher in the east. Near the western horizon, brilliant Venus glows 2 degrees above Mercury.
03- At dusk, Venus lies 1.1 degree above Mercury low in the west. They set early. Great view in binoculars and `scopes.
05- Changing positions, Mercury moves 1.4 degrees above Venus low in the west.
15- Mercury climbs to its highest altitude in the west, 4 degrees above Venus.
18- A sliver of a young Moon briefly joins Venus and Mercury.
20- VERNAL EQUINOX- the Sun rises due east and sets due west for several days as the northbound Sun crosses the Equator. Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere at 12:15 p.m. Drive cautiously on east-west roads early morning and late afternoon. Mercury, 1st rock from the Sun, moves on a tight orbit and drops into the sunset glare.
22- By 7 p.m. the Moon nudges Aldebaran in Taurus, Bull. The 0.9 degree conjunction provides great views in binoculars and telescopes.
28- Venus and blue-green Uranus are 1 degree apart near the western horizon.
31- The Easter Moon is full and rises in the east by sunset. Spica, in Virgo the Spring Maiden appears in the SSE lower right of the Moon. Jupiter glows in the east about 11:45 p.m.

The Royal Family arrives at the NW horizon: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia. daughter Andromeda with our nearest galaxy and Perseus. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades) star cluster lead Taurus, Bull lower in the west. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull's red eye) accents the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull's face). Cetus, Whale, dives onto the western horizon. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, leans across the SW in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion.Brilliant Sirius sparkles from Orion's Big Dog trotting across the SW. The Pups trail after the Big Dog. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, toward the NW.The Gemini Twins: Castor & Pollux stride overhead. Leo, Lion climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper rises in the NE. Bright Arcturus sparkles low in the NE. By nightfall, The ZODIACAL LIGHT may be visible extending above the western horizon. Near the time of the Equinox, the Zodiacal Light resembles a pyramid of diffused sunlight reflecting zillions of space dust particles.


The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
with a star in one eye,
Gives a leap in the east.

He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.

I'm a poor Underdog,
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark.

- Robert Frost, "Canis Major"
Sky & Telescope 2/2018


01- The bright full Moon glows 0.1 degree from Regulus in the Lion's paw at 1 a.m. and leads the Lion westward. Mars cruises closer to Earth 130 million miles distant.
07- The Moon and Jupiter are 4 degrees apart in Libra at 2 a.m.
09- The Last Quarter Moon occurs 6:48 a.m.
10- The waning Moon forms a triangle with ruddy Mars and silver Saturn above the Sagittarian Teapot. Daylight Savings begins at 2 a.m.
11- At dawn, the Moon meets Saturn in the south.
17- New Moon occurs at 9:12 a.m.
24- First Quarter Moon occurs at 10:48 a.m.
28- Saturn and Mars are 2.9 degrees apart above the Teapot in the south.
31- The Easter Moon is full at 7:17 a.m. The Blue Moon sets in the west at dawn. Mars brightens at 103 million miles from Earth.

At dawn, Leo, Lion stalks the western sky.. Corvus, Crow flies ahead of westbound Spica in Virgo, Spring Maiden. Bright Jupiter lies in Libra in the SSW. Huge Scorpius crawls across the south..The Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) shimmers in the SE. The Big Dipper swings into the NW. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. Vega leads the Summer Triangle 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.