Southern Cross Stargazer for May 11-17, 2014



By nightfall, show Mom and family the parade of planets extending across the sky: Mercury appears 5 degrees above the northwestern horizon; bright westbound Jupiter glows near the Gemini Twins and sets about midnight; fiery Mars, in Virgo, climbs higher in the east; silver Saturn rises in the southeast in Libra. The bright moon floats in the east between Mars (above) and Spica (below).

Orion, the Hunter, leans over the western horizon. Procyon, Little Dog, trots after Orion. They set early. Bright Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, lower in the northwest. Leo, the Lion, crawls westward. The Big Dipper hangs in the north, Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The tip of the Little Dipper’s handle is Polaris. Ruddy Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the east. Corvus, the Crow, flies across the south.

Aim optical equipment to the famous cluster of millions of stars, Omega Centauri, shimmering low in the south, directly below Corvus. By 10:30 p.m. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle above the northeastern horizon. Huge Scorpius climbs above the southeastern horizon. Bright Antares (red supergiant) is the heart beating in the Scorpion’s torso.


In evening dusk, the bright moon rises near Saturn in the southeast.


The Blossom Moon is full at 3:16 p.m. The full moon rises in the southeast at sunset and sets in the west at dawn.


Before dawn, the bright moon leads Scorpius into the southwest. The Sagittarian Teapot (center of our Milky Way Galaxy) shimmers in the south.

Aim binoculars to the myriad of deep sky objects around Scorpius and Sagittarius. Capricornus, the Sea Goat, wanders across the southeast. Aquarius rises in the southeast. Pegasus, the Winged Horse, lifts higher in the east. Aim binoculars to brilliant Venus, the Morning Star, 1.3 degrees to the right of blue-green Uranus in the southeast. Vega leads the Summer Triangle westward. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. The Big Dipper settles low in the northwest.


Southern Cross Astros will host a free public program, “Travel into a Monster Black Hole,” at 8 p.m. in the FIU Physics Building, CP-145 lecture hall, Modesto Maidique Campus. Park in the visitors/students area in the campus Red Garage at Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street. Follow the SCAS signs across the patio.

In the predawn this week view the International Space Station:

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

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