Go Stargazing at the Fruit & Spice Park

With high-rises, floodlights, and all-night ragers, Miami is hardly the place to look up at the heavens and see much of anything -- other than an occasional flight full of tourists.

But with the wild wolf moon hanging around, there's no better time to escape from the city and get a glimpse at what's above. Tomorrow night, you can take a look at the heavens with the help of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society (SCAS) at the Fruit & Spice Park.

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"Early on, clouds permitting, we'll be able to show beautiful, brilliant Venus in the southwest -- our evening star for spring and summer," says Barb Yager of SCAS Outreach/Media.

The group will have a variety of telescopes set up so attendees can get a closer look at the various clusters and planets and astronomical objects.

"Nearby will be dim, rusty Mars because it's farthest away from us now -- also, the outer planet, blue-green Uranus. Those will all be together in the southwest," she explains.

"Then we have comet Lovejoy pretty much overhead, and then rising in the east is bright Jupiter surrounded by its four closest satellite moons. Then in the south or southeast, we have the great Orion Nebula located in the sword below Orion's Belt."

The nebula is actually a huge gas cloud, Yager explains. New stars are formed there.

"Looking through the telescope, the gas cloud looks rather small, but it's quite a lovely object. In actuality, the gas cloud is 173 trillion miles in diameter, and there are lots of those across the sky.

"We also have star clusters to show, the beautiful Pleiades, the Hyades, and the Beehive clusters."

In addition to an astronomy lesson, there will be refreshments for sale, storytelling, a moonlit tram tour of the park, a petting encounter with the rare Arctic wolf, and a campfire. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, and marshmallows.

"Winter is the perfect time to show the public our southern night skies."

Stargazing runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead. Admission is free. Visit fruitandspicepark.org or call 305-247-5727.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.

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