Southern Cross Stargazer for March 30-April 5, 2014


New moon occurs at 2:45 p.m. The moon is near the sun and not visible tonight.


By 8 p.m. aim binoculars to the sliver of a young moon near the western horizon. The dark round area of the moon is earthshine bouncing off the lunar surface.


By nightfall the moon snuggles beside the V-shaped Hyades star cluster. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) twinkles from the Hyades (Bull’s face). Bright Jupiter glows near the Gemini Twins overhead. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the northwest. The Big Dipper rises higher in the northeast. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The tip of the Little Dipper’s handle is Polaris. Leo, Lion, climbs higher in the east. Orion, Hunter, chases Taurus, Bull, into the west. The Pups trail Orion’s Big Dog across the south. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in the Big Dog. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Canopus, radiant in multicolors, lies low in the southwest.

About mid-evening, bright copper-colored Mars rises in the east 5 degrees from Spica in Virgo, Spring Maiden. Kite-shaped Corvus, Crow, flies higher in the southeast. Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the northeast. Late evening silver Saturn, encased in icy rings, rises in the southeast in Libra.


Five planets are visible in the predawn: Jupiter sets in the west-northwest by 4 a.m. Ruddy Mars glows in Virgo in the west. Saturn leads huge Scorpius across the south. The Sagittarian Teapot closely follows Scorpius. Brilliant Venus, Morning Star, glows in the southeast. Mercury descends toward the eastern horizon.

Leo, Lion, crawls westward. Ruddy Arcturus sparkles in the west. The Big Dipper turns toward the northwest. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra, the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle toward the Zenith. Cygnus, Swan soars within the Triangle.


Southern Cross Open House, Redland Observatory, dusk to 11 p.m. 23325 SW 217th Ave., Homestead (33031 GPS). In high-tech telescopes, planets, deep sky objects, First Quarter Moon will be spectacular in dark skies.

SCAS public Star Party, Bill Sadowski Park, Southwest 176th Street and 79th Avenue, 8-10 p.m. Bring chairs, snacks, binoculars and bug repellent to both locations. 305-661-1375.

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