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Florida Keys Travel Guide

Astronomers meeting in the keys

Posted: Feb. 28th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Astronomer watches the sky

Hundreds of astronomers met at the Florida Keys for the 29th annual winter star party. The party has attracted about 500 people and the number seems to have grown over the last couple of years. The reason that the meeting is held in the Keys is because it is one of the few places where the Southern Cross can be seen.

SCOUT KEY, Fla. -- Hundreds of professional and amateur astronomers are focusing telescopes on southern constellations, stars, planets and even the International Space Station in the lower Florida Keys.

The 29th Winter Star Party kicked off Monday and has attracted almost 500 stargazing participants and guest speakers, including Michael Menzel, NASA mission systems engineer for the in-development James Webb Space Telescope.

Event founder Tippy D'Auria said the Keys are one of the few places in the contiguous United States where the Southern Cross and other celestial objects can be seen. The southern location, clear night skies and many available viewing locations without bright city lights help create optimal viewing conditions.


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