Southern Cross Stargazer for Dec. 29-Jan.4



About 7 p.m., brilliant Venus begins to descend to a few degrees above the southwestern horizon as bright Jupiter rises a few degrees above the eastern horizon at the right of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. Jupiter approaches its closest encounter with Earth next week. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the north-northeast.

In the east, the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull to the Zenith. The ancient Druids celebrated their New Year with the Samhain festival when the Pleiades rose at nightfall and reached the Zenith at midnight.

Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster in Taurus (Bull’s face). Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east, aiming at the Bull. The Great Orion Nebula, a huge gas cloud that produces young stars, glows in Orion’s sword. Spectacular in telescopes. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast.

Cetus, Whale, swims across the south. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) westward. Outer planet blue-green Uranus sails across the southwest and sets about midnight. The Northern Cross stands on the northwestern horizon. The Royal Family swings into the northwest. Late evening Leo, Lion, surveys the eastern horizon. The bowl of the Big Dipper appears low in the northeast.


The New Year’s new moon occurs at 6:14 a.m. A new moon is not visible as it drifts across the sky with the sun. At dusk, a sliver of a young moon may be visible briefly below Venus near the west-southwestern horizon. They set early.


In the evening twilight, aim binoculars at the young moon with dark earthshine, in Capricornus, 7 degrees above bright Venus descending in the southwest.


By 12:10 a.m., brightening Mars rises in the southeast, 5 degrees above Spica, in Virgo. Around 3 a.m. silver Saturn appears in the southeast in Libra. The ice-ringed planet rises below Spica, in Virgo. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles overhead.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is most intense around 4 a.m. in a moonless sky. About 60 meteors per hour radiate from Arcturus.

By 6 a.m. huge Scorpius crawls above the southeastern horizon. Jupiter drifts lower in the northwest. The dim Beehive cluster shimmers in the northwest. Leo, Lion crawls westward. The Big Dipper hangs in the north.


At 7 a.m. Earth orbits closest to the sun by 91.4 million miles. In evening dusk, Venus glows 5 degrees above the southwestern horizon.

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

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

Diver Frank Notte gets ready to go over the side of the St. Nicholas VII and demonstrate old-fashioned sponge harvesting on the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs.

    Tarpon Springs

    Dive into Greek culture on the Florida coast? Opa!

    First we saw a few bubbles. Then so many that the water seemed to boil. Next appeared a bulbous brass helmet, big as a beach ball, trailing a long rubber hose. A human hand clasped the side of the wooden boat. A minute later, the diver had climbed back aboard the St. Nicholas VII. Clad in traditional early-20th-century diving getup, he appeared to have stepped directly from a Jules Verne novel.

Gena Barr, outreach coordinator for the University of Miami Health System's Division of Adolescent Medicine, demonstrates how she conducts a urine sample test that determines the presence of STDs. Barr, 39, has been working at the UM clinic since 2004. “I just wanted to help people in the community," she said, adding that the clinic, which primarily serves domestic abuse victims, gave her the opportunity.


    STDs are on the rise in Miami-Dade

    Cases of chlamydia and syphilis have doubled in the last seven years, causing concern and speculation about the increase

The work 'IMAG_NE' by Australian artist Emma Anna, coming to Boca Raton this fall, on display in Sydney, Australia in 2008.

    Florida notes

    It’s the season to see Key Deer

    Dear to the hearts of many are the miniature deer that exist only in the Florida Keys. Fully grown, these Key Deer stand only two to three feet high, but resemble their bigger siblings in every respect: Stags grow a full set of antlers, does charm with their limpid eyes.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category