Southern Cross Stargazer for July 6-12, 2014


In the evening dusk, bright Jupiter follows the setting sun. The King of the Planets will cruise behind the sun and emerge in the eastern morning twilight in mid-August, very close to brilliant Venus. Eastbound Mars drifts closer to the star Spica, both in Virgo in the south-southwest. Mars has receded to 93 million miles away from Earth. Corvus, the Crow, glides toward the southwestern horizon.

Leo, the Lion, butts its head on the western horizon. The Gemini Twins linger on the northwestern horizon. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the west, followed by the stellar necklace Corona Borealis. The Big Dipper swings into the northwest. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. Polaris twinkles about 25.6 degrees above the northern horizon. Miami is about 25.6 degrees north of the Equator.

Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle higher in the northeast. Cygnus, the Swan, soars within the Triangle. Silver Saturn, encircled in sunlit icy rings, glows in the southeast in Libra followed by huge Scorpius. Bright Antares, the red heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. The Sagittarian Teapot closely follows Scorpius. Capricornus, Sea Goat, appears on the southeastern horizon. In late evening, the Royal Family arrives in the northeast. Pegasus, Winged Horse, rises in the east. Dim Neptune appears in the southeast in Aquarius.


Tonight the bright moon leads Scorpius across the south.


At dawn (5:45 a.m.) brilliant Venus glows in Taurus, the Bull, in the east-northeast. The Morning ‘Star’ lies left of ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) in the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) dance above Venus. Mercury rises lower left of Venus. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, above the northeastern horizon. Aries, Ram chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, to the Zenith.

The Royal Family reigns in the north: Queen Cassiopeia, King Cepheus, daughter Andromeda and Perseus. Vega leads the Summer Triangle and Cygnus into the northwest. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune in the south. Blue-green Uranus floats across the southeast in Pisces.



Star party:

FIU hosts its free annual Key West Style Star Party 8 p.m. on the main campus. NASA Moon Landing program by James R. Webb, professor of astronomy. Key lime pies, beverages, Margaritaville live music in the Stocker Astroscience Center, followed by a star party on the roof of the new Observatory. Park in the campus garage, in faculty/visitor slots, west side of Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street and follow the signs to the Observatory behind the FIU Physics Building. 305-348-3964.


Before dawn, Mercury reaches its highest altitude in the east-northeast below Venus. The thunder moon is full at 7:25 a.m. Tonight Mars lies 1.4 degrees above Spica in the southwest.

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