Southern Cross Astronomical Society

"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.DaytonFormer SCAS President


FRIDAY, APRIL 17th, 8 p.m. Southern Cross Astronomy President Dr. Lester Shalloway will present OUR SOLAR IMPACT with awesome images and latest information of the power exploding from the scorching surface of our nearest star. Our natural source of life--heat, energy and light takes 8 1/2 minutes to zip across 93 million miles to reach Earth. Yet the U.S. relies mostly on energy from fossil fuels! Colorful auroras dance across the Arctic night skies, reflected in snow and ice, the result of supersonic solar winds exploding from solar  flares and sun spots that blast into our protective magnetosphere. Unfortunately we live at a latitude too far south to witness the dazzling display that occurS during the time of the Midnight Sun. The popular website: displays stunning photos/information of solar activity, auroras, meteor showers and space missions with daily updates,

Dr. Shalloway initiated SCAS safe solarviewing events in hi-tech equipment 28 years ago at the ticket entrance to ZooMiami, FIU, schools, Annual Winter Star Party and special events. He will display his stunning solar images and more in the FIU Physics Building lecture hall CP-145  Friday, April 17th.

 Bring friends, future science students, college students of heliophysics, faculty and colleagues to our free SCAS astronomy program. Enjoy lively discussions, food buffet and you might win a valuable door prize! Park in the FIU campus garage, in faculty/visitor slots, west side of Southwest 109 Avenue/8 Street and follow the SCAS signs across the patio into CP-145.

Weather permitting, safe solarviewing is offered by SCAS Astros Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-Noon, all year, at the ticket entrance to ZooMiami, 12400 Southwest 152 Street.  SCAS members are welcome to assist with solarviewing. School and scout groups of 10 or more please call SCAS Hotline:  305-661-1375. The SCAS monthly Stargazer is published in the Miami Herald.


Recently Southern Cross Past President Prof. Duke Dayton sent sad news that his lovely wife Linda had suddenly passed away March 9th. He only added that he was totally devastated. She was such a cheerful, charming and devoted wife, a wonderful hostess at special SCAS events during the 1990s. Following Duke's retirement as  a 25-year Professor of astronomy & physics at Miami Dade College, in 2005, he and Linda returned to Provo, Utah to join their five children and  many grandchildren.where he continues to teach at Utah Valley University. SCAS has sent messages of sympathy.

In Memoriam


   by Barb Yager


For more than thirty years Don Parker and I were dear friends. Although aware of his lingering lung illness (he smoked like a chimney) losing him so suddenly last month sent shock waves that still linger. As a rookie Southern Cross member I was impressed with his energy and devotion to his hobby producing outstanding images of Mars, later followed by images of Jupiter and Saturn. His SCAS lectures at FIU were always so entertaining and impressive---there on the big screen was Jupiter slowly rotating to show off its bands of rippling storms, the Red Spot, and smaller white storms. Another program would feature his images of Mars with its two white polar caps and dark surface streaks. Don would identify each huge canyon as easily as if they were located on his residential street. He seemed to be enthralled with the latest equipment that quickly produced high quality planetary images. With Don's guidance, his pals Chick Capen, Jeff Beish, Tippy D'Auria, Tom Dobbins, Scott Ireland and Dr. Lester Shalloway caught the passion and began producing superb celestial images, including comets, nebulas and other challenging deep sky objects such as the black patches on Jupiter left from 22 flaming chunks from Comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 in July 1994. 

His high level of imaging expertise and research was soon recognized by professional astronomers world wide. Carl Sagan, Cornell University, NY,  was one of many who relied on Don to supply images and research material that they did not have the time nor budget to include in their professional observatories. For several years Don was the favorite"keynote speaker" at the Annual Conference hosted by the Astronomical League and at the Miami Museum of Science. Don took one of the earliest images of Comet Halley and we invited a Channel 10 reporter to the Science Museum. She hoped to air it on the 11 pm news.  He proudly showed her the image of a small thick black dot against a field of smaller black dots. She was not impressed. Obviously she was expecting a large bright blob with a long tail.

Don was recognized internationally and received impressive awards from the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observations (ALPO) as a former director, and received the Gold Medal of the Oriental Astronomical Association in Tokyo, Japan in 2004 and many, many more. Don and Tom Dobbins authored the book: Introduction to Observing & Photographing the Solar System. Amazingly he managed to produce tons of scientific material while an anesthesiologist at Mercy Hospital. 

On a pleasant evening I still hear his deep baritone voice and soft chuckle coming from the stars...

SCAS Congratulates the Winners of the Astrophotography Contest

Winner banner

Note: All other contest entries are located on this page

IMPORTANT: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20th SCAS' program has been cancelled. SCAS will return to FIU CP-145  Friday, March 20th at 8 p.m. Topic: NASA JUNO & NEW HORIZON Missions with Space Scientist Dr. Scott Bolton, San Antonio, Tx.

We have a Star Party every Saturday at Bill Sadowski Park

Current Observation conditions at the Park - Star Party may get cancelled due to bad seeing conditions. Call Park office at 305-255-4767 for information.

SCAS Stargazer events

SCAS Public Events Schedule

Become a member of SCAS! Benefits include telescope loaners and access to our top of the line Redland Observatory. Learn more….

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Comet 2014 Q2 Lovejoy- Photo taken from SCAS D’Auria Observatory by Tim Khan

Comet Lovejoy continues moving northwest not far from the Pleiades. In February the comet will continue north between Andromeda and Perseus as it fades further, on its way to passing very close by Polaris late next May when it will be a mere 12th magnitude. 

SCAS through the Years

SCAS president, Dr. Lester  Shalloway has uncovered old pictures from SCAS archives. We have posted a slideshow of this amazing snapshot of SCAS history.