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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

WSP 2019 will be held Feb 4 thru 10 in the Florida Keys at Camp Wesumkee. Registration will open on October 1st 2018. Get your tickets early, it's our 35 year celebration!


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.


August 4th, 18th, and 25th
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 Saturdays (June 9th) 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.



SATURDAY, AUGUST 11th, 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 BE CLOSED DURING THE NEW MOON STAR PARTY!

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


Lunar Timetable:

Last Quarter Moon Image
September 2nd Last Quarter Moon 10:37 pm
New Moon Image
September 9th New Moon 1:41 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
September 16th First Quarter Moon 7:30 pm
Full Moon Image
September 24th Full Moon 10:50 pm



Epsilon Perseids

The September Epsilon Perseids (SPE) are active from September 3 through October 3 with the peak occurring on the night of September 10/11. The radiant is currently located at 03:06 (047) +39. This position lies just 2 degrees south of the variable star known as Algol (beta Persei). The radiant is best placed near 0500 LDT, when it lies highest above the horizon. Rates are expected to be near 2 per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and less than 1 as seen from the southern hemisphere. With an entry velocity of 65 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift.SCAS Hotline: 305-661-1375.

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


September (Epsilon) Perseid Meteors may be visible 1-21st radiating from the constellation Perseus, late evening until dawn. The minor shower produces about 5 meteors per hour. Peak activity occurs 9/10th.
COMET Giacobini-Zinner passed 2 degrees from Capella 9/02-03, and will be closest to Earth 9/10th near M-36 and M-37 at magnitude 6-7th. About 20 degrees east of Aldebaran 9/21.



3 EVENING PLANETS- Jupiter low in the west in Libra, Saturn SSW above the Sagittarian Teapot, and very bright Mars in the south.

02- At dusk, Venus shines 1.8 degrees from Spica in Virgo in the SW. Blue-green Uranus rises in the SE in Aries about 9:30 p.m. LAST QUARTER MOON occurs 10:37 p.m.and rises after Midnight.
07- Dim blue Neptune, in Aquarius, lies opposite the Sun at 2 p.m. Tonight the outer planet rises in the SE by sunset and sets in the west at dawn. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune.
09- NEW MOON occurs at 1:41 p.m.very close to the Sun.
11- At dusk the young crescent MOON floats near Spica and brilliant Venus low in the SW.
13- At 10 p.m. the MOON lies 4 degrees above Jupiter. Use binoculars to view dark Earthshine.
14- By nightfall the MOON leads huge Scorpius across the SW. A celestial line up: MOON, Jupiter and Venus low in the SW.
15- The MOON lies 10 degrees above Antares-(red super giant)the heart beating in the Scorpion.
16- FIRST QUARTER MOON occurs at 7:30 p.m.
17- Tonight the MOON drifts near Saturn in the south.
19- The bright MOON floats 5 degrees above fiery Mars in the SSE.
21- Venus is most brilliant, at -4.8 magnitude, low in the west.
22- AUTUMNAL EQUINOX occurs 9:54 p.m. Days and nights are about equal for a week. Drivers be aware of bright sun rising due east and setting due west.
24- The huge HARVEST MOON is full at 10:37 p.m. rising in the east by sunset and sets in the west at dawn.
29/30- Venus, Queen of the Night, descends onto the SW horizon. 8 p.m. Uranus rises in the SE.

The Big Dipper settles near the NW horizon. Bright Arcturus sparkles low in the west. Jupiter fades in Libra near the SW horizon. Scorpius crawls along the SW horizon followed by the Sagittarian Teapot in the SSW. Bright Mars glows between the Teapot and Capricornus in the SSE. Grus, Crane stretches its starry neck above the SE horizon. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune in Aquarius in the SE. Westbound Hercules leads bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Aries, Ram chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) higher in the east. The Royal Family arrives in the NE.


Zodiacal Light- 1/2 hour before dawn look for the pyramid of diffused light rising above the eastern horizon. Tiny particles of space dust congregate along the ecliptic line during September and are reflected in light from the Sun below the horizon.
02/03- COMET G-Z 2 degrees from Capella in Auriga in the NE.
05- Leo, Lion climbs above the eastern horizon before sunrise. Mercury and Regulus, in Leo, are 1.2 degrees apart low in the east.
08- The waning MOON rises 1 degree from Regulus. Mercury shimmers below the pair in the NE.
10- Southbound COMET G-Z closest to Earth and the SUN and passes 1 and 2 degrees from M-36 and M-37.
20- COMET G-Z cruises about 20 degrees east of Aldebaran in Taurus in the NE.
27- Bright Moon drifts 5 degrees below Uranus at 3 a.m.

The Northern Cross stands on the NW horizon. The Great Square of Pegasus slips lower in the west. Cetus, Whale dives toward the SW horizon. The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda and Perseus the Hero. The Pleiades (Seven Sisters) lead Taurus, Bull to the Zenith. Capella in Auriga, Charioteer, follow the Royal Family. The Gemini Twins, Castor & Pollux, climb higher in the NE. Gigantic Orion, Hunter strides higher in the east. Procyon, Little Dog, in the east follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the SE. Leo, Lion climbs over the eastern horizon.

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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.