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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


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.


April 13th, 20th, and 27th
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.
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!

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

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Sky Safari

Outdoor Sport Optics

Precise Parts

Telescope Engineering Company

Explorer Scientific

ADM Accessories

Day Star Filters

Software Bisque

Losmandy Astronomical Products

Tele Vue

Astro Mart


Lunar Timetable:

New Moon Image
April 5th New Moon 4:52 am
First Quarter Moon Image
April 12th First Quarter Moon 2:51 pm
Full Moon Image
April 19th Full Moon 7:14 am
Last Quarter Moon Image
april 26th Last Quarter Moon 6:34 pm


The Lyrids

In 2019, April 22nd is the expected peak morning, but the bright waning gibbous moon is sure to put a damper on this year’s production.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks Monday night and early Tuesday morning! It’s active each year from about April 16 to 25. In 2019, the peak of this shower – which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day – is expected to fall on the morning of April 23, though under the light of a bright waning gibbous moon.
No matter where you are on Earth, the greatest number of meteors tend to fall during the few hours before dawn.

All in all the Lyrid meteor shower prospects look pretty good for 2018, though meteor showers are notorious for being fickle and not totally predictable. In a moonless sky, you might see from about 10 to 20 Lyrid meteors an hour at the shower’s peak. In 2019, the bright the waning gibbous moon wash out this shower during its usual prime time morning hours. Those predicted maxima assume you are watching in a dark, country sky.
Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) is the source of the Lyrid meteors. Every year, in late April, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of this comet. We have no photos of it because its orbit around the sun is roughly 415 years. Comet Thatcher last visited the inner solar system in 1861, before the photographic process became widespread. This comet isn’t expected to return until the year 2276. Bits and pieces shed by this comet litter its orbit and bombard the Earth’s upper atmosphere at 110,000 miles per hour (177,000 km/h). The vaporizing debris streaks the nighttime with medium-fast Lyrid meteors.

It’s when Earth passes through an unusually thick clump of comet rubble that an elevated number of meteors can be seen. Their radiant—the point in the sky from which the Lyrids appear to come from—is the constellation Lyra, the harp. Lyrids appear to particularly radiate out from the star Vega. Vega is the brightest star within this constellation. (Helpful Hint: Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is easy to spot in even light-polluted areas.) The constellation of Lyra is also where we get the name for the shower: Lyrids. It is actually better to view the Lyrids away from their radiant: They will appear longer and more spectacular from this perspective. If you do look directly at the radiant, you will find that the meteors will be short—this is an effect of perspective called foreshortening. Note: The constellation for which a meteor shower is named only serves to aid viewers in determining which shower they are viewing on a given night. The constellation is not the source of the meteors.

Bottom line: The Lyrid meteor shower offers 10 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak on a moonless night. The peak numbers are expected to fall on the morning of April 23, 2019, under the drenching light of a bright waning gibbous moon.

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


Mars the lonely evening planet early April and the Lyrid Meteor Shower 4/22.

02-07- By nightfall aim astronomy equipment on the celestial line up in Taurus in the west: orange-colored Mars, warrior planet, marches between ruddy Aldebaran (Bull's red eye on the left) and the delicate blue Pleiades cluster on the right. Until mid-month, Mars will be the only evening planet. It sets about 11 p.m.
06- The young Moon hangs briefly near the western horizon.
08- Aim binoculars at the Moon to reveal dark Earthshine. The Moon forms a "diamond in the sky" arrangement with Mars, Aldebaran and the Pleiades.
10- The crescent Moon hangs above Orion, Hunter in the WSW.
12- First Quarter Moon occurs 2:51 p.m. and shines near the Gemini Twins: Castor & Pollux.
13- Moon is 2 degrees from the Beehive cluster.
14- The bright Moon leads Leo, Lion, to the Zenith.
19- NO SCAS PROGRAM AT FIU. The May 17th free program: Summer Constellations.
22- Early Lyrid Meteors may be visible late evening radiating from the NE. Colorful debris from Comet Thatcher is predicted to be most active 2-6 a.m. 23rd.
23- Golden Jupiter rises in the east just before Midnight.
26- Last Quarter Moon occurs 6:34 p.m. and rises after Midnight.
27- Beautiful winter constellations slide toward the western horizon.
30- Jupiter rises soon after 11 p.m. as Mars sets in the west.

Taurus, Bull grazes along the western horizon. Huge Orion, Hunter leans to take aim at the Bull. Brilliant blue Sirius (a nearby star) sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the SW. The Gemini Twins slide westward. Leo, Lion crawls across the Zenith. Corvus, Crow leads Spica, in Virgo SpringMaiden, higher in the east. Directly below Spica, stunning compact cluster Omega Centauri, filled with millions of stars, appears low in the SE. Bright Arcturus, a red giant star, sparkles in the ENE. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Hercules appears in the the NE. Queen Cassiopeia and Perseus arrive on the NW horizon. Capella guides Auriga across the NW.

Next free SCAS program at FIU "SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS" 8 p.m. Friday, May 17th, 2019 in CP-145 lecture hall Main campus.


5 planets in the predawn sky.
Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn
Lyrid Meteor Shower.

02- At dawn, brilliant Venus, tiny Mercury and the waning Moon form a triangle near the SE horizon. Jupiter rises 1:15 a.m. Saturn rises about 3 a.m.
05- New Moon occurs at 4:52 a.m.
Jupiter glows above huge Scorpius in the south. Silver Saturn lies left of the Sagittarian Teapot in the SSE.
11- Mercury reaches its highest altitude of 5 degrees above the SE horizon. Neptune lies .05 degree to the right of Venus.
15- Descending Venus and rising Mercury make their closest approach 4.3 degrees apart low in the SE.
19- The EASTER MOON is full at 7:14 a.m.
22- The bright Moon floats above ruddy Antares (heart beating in huge Scorpius) in SSW.
22-24- LYRID METEOR SHOWER radiates from the NE. From 2-6 a.m. the LYRIDS will be most intense at 15 meteors per/hr. Lyra is near bright Vega in the Summer Triangle that rises late evening. A bright waning Moon rises around Midnight which may reduce number of visible Lyrids.
23- At dawn the Moon snuggles with Jupiter above Scorpius.
25- Last Quarter Moon lies 2 degrees from Saturn at 6:34 p.m. in the SE.
30- Saturn rises about 1 a.m.

The Lion stalks the western horizon. Corvus, Crow leads Spica in Virgo toward the SW horizon. Huge Scorpius crawls into the SW. The Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) shimmers in the south. Fomalhaut twinkles in Aquarius in SE. Pegasus, Winged Horse, climbs higher in the east. Hercules leads Vega and the vast Summer Triangle toward the Zenith. The Big Dipper swings into the NW. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. Outer planet Uranus lies near the Sun.

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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.