Southern Cross Stargazer for Oct. 6-12, 2013



At dusk aim binoculars to the young crescent moon 4 degrees above the southwestern horizon. Mercury glistens 2 degrees below the moon. They set by nightfall. Dim Saturn floats 5 degrees above them. Mercury outshines Saturn. By 7:15 p.m. brilliant Venus leads huge Scorpius 35 degrees above the southwestern horizon. Antares, red heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. In the south, the tilted Sagittarian Teapot pours onto the Scorpion’s stinger tail. Capricornus. Sea Goat, wanders into the southwest. Dim Neptune sails across the south in Aquarius. Fomalhaut twinkles below the blue planet. Blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast in Pisces, Fish. Cetus, Whale swims along the southeastern horizon.

In the east, Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse toward the Zenith. Westbound Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the Summer Triangle west of Zenith. Cygnus, Swan soars within the Triangle. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the northwest. Late evening, the Royal Family reigns in the north. The Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull above the eastern horizon. Bright Capella rises in the northeast. Before midnight, ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s Face) in Taurus. Bright Jupiter glows in the east to the right of the Gemini Twins.


Before dawn, two dim comets may be visible in optical equipment in the east. Comet Ison 2 degrees upper left of ruddy Mars in Leo, Lion in the east. Comet Encke brightens 10 degrees above the Gemini Twins.


At dusk, aim binoculars to a celestial triangle in the southwest. Venus leads Scorpius by the nose across the southwest. The crescent moon with Earthshine floats above. Antares, red supergiant, sparkles left of Venus. They set early.


Mercury reaches highest altitude of 25 degrees above the setting sun.


Few bright Southern Taurid Meteors may be visible radiating from the south from 2 to 6 a.m. At dawn, Orion, Hunter, strides overhead taking aim at Taurus, Bull in the west. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. Dim Mars escorts Leo, Lion, higher in the east. The Big Dipper rises in the northeast. The Royal Family swings into the northwest. The delicate Beehive cluster follows the Gemini Twins to the Zenith. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, toward the northwest. The Pleiades and Hyades shimmer west of Zenith.


Autumn Star Party is 7-10 p.m. at Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead. Southern Cross equipment will focus on five planets and first quarter moon. Free. Arctic wolf to pet, tram rides, campfire and refreshments. Bring chairs and binoculars. 305-247-5727.


Southern Cross celebrates National Astronomy Day 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the, Miami Science Museum, 3280 S. Bayshore Dr., Miami. Safe solar viewing in the courtyard, exhibits, lectures. Free. 305-661-1375

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

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