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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


Saturday, February 16th SCAS free, safe solarviewing will return 11 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


Friday, February 22nd SCAS Star Party 7-10 p.m. Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187 Avenue, Homestead. Free Family Fun. Park activities and line up of SCAS hi-tech equipment focused on blazing winter constellations in the dark outback. 305-247-5727.





SCAS Program at FIU 2/15/2019

Friday, 2/15th special SCAS program:COLLIDING GALAXIES 8 SCAS member Ric Babcock illustrating his images and explaining his imaging/telescope hook up FIU lecture hall CP-145, Main campus. Free SCAS program includes refreshments, Q & A. Weather permitting a visit to the FIU Observatory roof for stargazing after the program. Park in the campus garage, west side of SW 109 Ave./SW 8 St. Follow the SCAS signs into CP-145.

SATURDAY February 2nd

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

STAR PARTIES- Weather Permitting--SATURDAY January 12th, 19th and 26th, SCAS Astros will arrange hi-tech equipment 6-10 p.m. on the observation deck in MiamiDade Bill Sadowski Park & Nature Center, SW 176 St./SW 79 Ave. 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road. The Park classroom is open for SCAS astronomy activities. Bring chairs, binoculars, dysfunctional telescopes, bug repellent. No white lights, lasers, litter, pets or alcohol at our SCAS Star Parties.

SCAS membership information- please contact

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.


February 9th, 16th and 23rd
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 Saturday (December 8th) 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.



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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Cloudy Nights


Lunar Timetable:

New Moon Image
February 4th New Moon 9:04 pm
First Quarter Moon Image
February 12th First Quarter Moon 5:12 pm
Full Moon Image
February 18th Full Moon 10:37 am
Last Quarter Moon Image
February 26th Last Quarter Moon 7:04 am


Alpha Antliids, Epsilon Virginids, Alpha Centaurids, Pi Hydrids, Eta Draconids

February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earthgrazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the evening fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April as seen from the northern hemisphere. Sporadic rates are near maximum for those viewing from the Southern hemisphere. There are no strong showers this month but sporadic rates are well in excess of 10 per hour as seen from mid-southern latitudes.
These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.

The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 09:48 (147) +13. This position lies in western Leo, 4 degrees northwest of the 1st magnitude star known as Regulus (alpha Leonis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from Cancer, northwestern Hydra, and Sextans as well as Leo. This radiant is best placed near 0100 local standard time (LST), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and 1 per hour from south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The alpha Antliids (AAN) should be active from a radiant located near 10:36 (159) -10. This position actually lies in southern Sextans, 4 degrees northeast of the 4th magnitude star known as lambda Hydrae. I’m not certain how this stream was named as it the radiant lies a good 20 degrees north of the Antlia border. Perhaps when activity was first noticed from this source the radiant was incorrectly determined? This radiant is best placed near 0200 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates are expected to be near 1 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 45 km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of medium velocity.

The February Epsilon Virginids (FEV) were discovered by Kathryn Steakly & Dr. Peter Jenniskens using data from CAMS and SonotaCo. This shower is active from January 29-February 9, with maximum activity occurring on February 3rd. The radiant is currently located at 13:22 (200) +11, which places it in northern Virgo, 3 degrees east of the 3rd magnitude star known as Vindemiatrix (Epsilon Virginis). These meteors would be best seen near 0400 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. Rates are expected to be near 1 per hour during the last dark hour before dawn. These meteors are equally well seen from either hemisphere. These meteors encounter the atmosphere at 64 km/sec., which would produce mostly swift meteors.

The alpha Centaurids (ACE) are active from February 2-19, with maximum activity occurring on February 8. The radiant is currently located at 13:38 (205) -57. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus, 2 degrees south of the 2nd magnitude star known as epsilon Centauri. Due to the southern declination of this radiant, these meteors are not well seen in the northern hemisphere. Current rates are expected to be near 1 for those in the southern hemisphere and less than 1 for those located north of the equator. These meteors are best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. At 56 km/sec. the alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.

The pi Hydrids (PIH) were discovered in Dr. Peter Jenniskens and mentioned in his book Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets. Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel confirmed the existence of this shower. These meteors are active from February 4-15, which maximum activity occurring on the 6th. At maximum the radiant is located at 14:00 (210) -21. This area of the sky is located in extreme southeastern Virgo, 6 degrees northwest of the 3rd magnitude star known as Pi Hydrae. These meteors are best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. Rates are expected to remain below 1, even at maximum activity. These meteors are visible over most of the Earth, with the southern hemisphere having slightly better viewing conditions. At 55 km/sec. the Pi Hydrids would produce mostly swift meteors.

The February Eta Draconids (FED) were discovered by Dr. Peter Jenniskens and Peter Gural using data from the first CAMS network in northern California. These meteors are active on only 3 nights, February 3-5. The maximum occurs on February 4 when the radiant is located at 15:59 (240) +61. This position lies in central Draco, 3 degrees west of the 3rd magnitude star known as Eta Draconis. These meteors are best seen during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Expected rates would be less than 1 per hour, even at maximum. These meteors are difficult to see from the southern tropics and impossible to see from latitudes south of 30S. At 35 km/sec. the February Eta Draconids produce mostly medium-slow meteors.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 7 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would also be near 10 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 3 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

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


Use binoculars to scan the blazing winter constellations, nebulas, galaxies and star clusters. It gives a 3-D image of all phases of the Moon.

04- The New Moon occurs at 9:04 p.m. Neptune descends into the sunset in SW.
09- The crescent Moon floats 8 degrees below Mars in the SW. Blue-green Uranus lies 2 degrees upper left of ruddy Mars. Great view of lunar Earthshine in binoculars!
10- The Moon climbs to 5 degrees below the 2 planets.
12- First Quarter Moon occurs 5:12 p.m. Mercury arrives on the WSW horizon. Uranus lies 5.5 degrees lower left of Mars in the SW.
13- By nightfall the Moon is 2 degrees from Aldebaran, red giant star known as the `red eye' of Taurus, Bull. They are located in the V-shaped Hyades cluster known as the Bull's face. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) shimmer above the Moon.
15- SCAS free program 8 FIU "COLLIDING GALAXIES." Physics Lecture Hall CP-145, Main Campus. Park in the campus garage,west side of SW 109 Ave/SW 8 St. Follow SCAS signs into CP-145.
16- Mars enters Aries and lies 3 degrees above Uranus in the SW.
17- Tonight the bright Moon nudges the Beehive cluster in Cancer. Great view in binoculars!
19- The Full SuperMoon, closest to Earth in 2019.
22- SCAS STAR PARTY 7-10 p.m.- Fruit & Spice Park 24801 SW 187 Avenue. Homestead.
26- At dusk Mercury reaches highest altitude above the western horizon.

Gigantic Orion, the Hunter, strides across the south in pursuit of Taurus, Bull in the west. The Great Orion Nebula glows from Orion's sword and is amazing in telescopes. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles from Orion's Big Dog in the SE. Procyon, Little Dog, in the east follows Orion. Overhead the delicate Pleiades lead the Bull westward. Aldebaran, red giant star, known as the Bull's red eye twinkles in the V-shaped Hyades cluster--the Bull's Face. Ruddy Mars glows in the SW near Uranus. The Great Square of Pegasus descends onto the western horizon. The Royal Family swings into the NW: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda, Perseus, Hero. Capella guides Auriga across the north. The Gemini Twins: Castor & Pollux glide toward the Zenith, followed by the Beehive cluster in Cancer. Leo, Lion crawls higher in the east. The Big Dipper appears in the NE. CANOPUS- a brilliant supergiant -5.7 magnitude nearby star radiates rainbow colors near the southern horizon, about 36 degrees directly below Sirius. Canopus, 310 light years from Earth, is located in Carina on the rudder of the ship-wrecked Argo Navis. February 10th Canopus arrives on the meridian at 9 p.m.

Next free SCAS program at FIU "COLLIDING GALAXIES " 8 p.m. Friday, 15th, 2019 in CP-145 lecture hall Main campus.


3 planets visible rising in the predawn skies. Jupiter, Venus and Saturn

01- By 6 a.m. look for the beautiful celestial parade arching across the SE. Golden Jupiter leads the parade followed by brilliant Venus (Morning Star), the waning crescent Moon as silver Saturn rises above the SE horizon. Antares, a red supergiant in Scorpius is the `heart' beating in the Scorpion to the right of the planets.
09- At dawn, Saturn rises 9 degrees below Venus in the SE.
14- Before sunrise, Saturn is 4 degrees below Venus.
17- Silver Saturn meets Venus 1.5 degrees apart.
18- Saturn and Venus dance 1.0 degree apart in the SE. Great view in binoculars and cameras!
19- The Wolf Moon is full at 10:37 a.m.
20- About 6 a.m. Venus and Saturn drift 2 degrees apart low in the SE.
26- Last Quarter Moon occurs 7:04 a.m.
27- Jupiter and the waning Moon snuggle 1 degree apart in the SSE.
28- At dawn, waning Moon follows Jupiter higher in the SE. Saturn lies near the Teaspoon left of the Sagittarian Teapot. Brilliant Venus slides lower in the SE.

The Big Dipper swings into the NW. Bright ruddy Arcturus, a red supergiant, sparkles west of Zenith. Leo, Lion stalks the NW horizon. Corvus, Crow flies ahead of Spica, in Virgo, in the SW. The stars of Libra shimmer in the south. Huge Scorpius crawls above the SSE horizon closely followed by the Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) in the SE. Hercules leads bright Vega and the Summer Triangle higher 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.