Southern Cross Stargazer for May 12-18, 2013



After sunset, the crescent moon floats upper left of bright Jupiter in the west. The King of the Planets and his collection of satellite moons settle on the western horizon by 10 p.m. Capella twinkles to the right of Jupiter and guides Auriga, Charioteer, lower in the northwest. After months of chasing Taurus, Bull, every night, huge Orion, Hunter, rests on the western horizon. Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, (Orion's left shoulder) sparkles left of the moon, low in the west. Aldebaran, (Bull's red eye) winks in the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face) directly below Jupiter. They set early. Brilliant Venus rises above the west-northwestern horizon. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Bright blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the southwest. The Pups trot along the southwestern horizon. Leo, Lion, crawls westward.

The Gemini Twins lead the Beehive star cluster across the northwest. The Big Dipper hangs in the North. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The tip of the handle of the Little Dipper is Polaris. Aim binoculars to the curve in the Big Dipper’s handle to view colorful double stars. Ruddy Arcturus sparkles in the east. Kite-shaped Corvus, Crow flies ahead of Spica, in Virgo, in the southeast. The famous globular star cluster Omega Centauri shimmers low in the south. Silver Saturn, in Libra, rises in the east, encircled by sunlit icy rings. A stunning view in telescopes! Saturn sets in the west at dawn. About 10 p.m. huge Scorpius peers over the southeastern horizon. Ruddy Antares (heart) beats in the Scorpion's torso. Bright Vega twinkles in Lyra the Harp, in the northeast.


A trio of planets aligns near the northwestern horizon: Jupiter (top), Venus (middle), Mercury (below)


In the predawn ,Neptune, in Aquarius, sails into the south above Fomalhaut. About 5 a.m. blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast in Pisces the Fish. Scorpius crawls low in the southwest. The Sagittarian Teapot drifts into the southwest. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders across the south. Saturn glows lower in the west. Hercules leads Vega and the vast Summer Triangle overhead.

The Gemini Twins stand on the northwestern horizon. Pegasus rises in the east. The Summer Milky Way arches from the Teapot to the Triangle.


Southern Cross Astros present “Mysteries of the Sun” at 8 p.m. at the FIU Physics Building, CP-145 lecture hall on the Modesto Maidique campus. Students from Miami Dade College-Kendall illustrate weird temperature changes from the solar surface and beyond. Great program for faculty and students of heliophysics. Free SCAS programs will resume Sept. 20.

Park in the FIU Red Garage, west side of Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street and follow the SCAS signs across the medical school patio to CP-145.


First quarter moon occurs 12:35 a.m.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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