Southern Cross Stargazer for Feb. 23-March 1, 2014



Mid-evening, outer planet blue-green Uranus, in Pisces Fish, descends toward the western horizon. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, onto the western horizon. The Royal Family swings low in the northwest. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, toward the northwest.

The delicate Seven Sisters lead Taurus, Bull westward. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Bright Jupiter glows overhead on the right of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. The dim Beehive cluster shimmers in Cancer, Crab, below the Twins.

Gigantic Orion, Hunter, now stands upright in the south aiming at the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant Sirius, a nearby blue giant star, sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog trotting on its hind legs after Orion. Sirius has a small companion star (white dwarf about the size of Earth) that orbits Sirius once every 50 years. The Pups trail the Big Dog. Canopus twinkles multi colors from the ancient ship low in the south. Binoculars enhance the colors of Sirius and Canopus. Leo, Lion crawls higher in the east.

Recently several bright southbound meteors were seen, possibly dust tail particles from Comet Ison consumed by the sun last fall.

Ruddy Mars appears in the east about 11 p.m. in Virgo. The Big Dipper rises higher in the northeast. Binoculars reveal a colorful double star in the curved handle of the Big Dipper. Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the east-northeast.

• Call 305-661-1375 for the evening track of the International Space Station this week.


Around 6 a.m. aim binoculars/cameras on the waning crescent moon 5 degrees below blazing Venus in the southeast.


By 1:30 a.m. silver Saturn rises in the southeast in Libra. About 6 a.m. the waning moon leads Mercury above the eastern horizon. Blazing Venus, Morning Star, rises higher in the southeast. Huge Scorpius crawls across the south. Red supergiant Antares, the heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso.

The Sagittarian Teapot appears in the southeast below Venus. Mars drifts about 5 degrees from Spica, in Virgo and follows Corvus, Crow, across the southwest. The Lion crawls lower in the west. Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles overhead. The Big Dipper hangs in the north.


By 6:15 a.m. the old thin moon appears on the eastern horizon.


New moon occurs at 5 a.m. About 6:45 p.m. a very young moon briefly hugs the western horizon.

•  Open House, sunset to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Southern Cross Observatory, 23325 SW 217th Ave., Homestead, 33031 (GPS). Enjoy brilliant winter skies with SCAS hi-tech equipment. Bring family, friends, chairs, snacks, binocular and telescopes.

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

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    By nightfall Spica follows fiery Mars, in Virgo, higher in the east. Telescopes reveal the white ice cap shrinking in the Martian summer and subtle dark details on the iron-rich red Martian desert. Binoculars enhance the planet’s bright color. Mars sets in the west about dawn and will remain bright for a few weeks.

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