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Illinois Dark Skies Star Party

Oct. 4 – 6, 2018

Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish & Wildlife Area

Observer oriented – Dark skies – Great facilities – Fantastic food

The Star Party will be pretty much be the same as in previous years – good site, plenty of room to spread out, good food, good programs, friendly folks, and of course The IDSSP Give-Away.

For those of you who have not been to our star party before I would say, there is no better place in Illinois to spend a weekend with your telescope than at IDSSP!

Watch the Illinois Dark Skies Star Party video

Click on the “Maps” tab of this website to attain printable maps of the area and directions.

2018 IDSSP Registration Form Please note that the form is a two page form and the second page addresses a Liability Release and requires the registrant’s signature. We also appreciate legible printing of the form in order to facilitate the production of the official name badges administered at check-in.

2018 IDSSP Menu  You can place your food order when you register.   The meals will be prepared and served by our local chapter of the Lions Clubs.

Check out the new 2018 IDSSP T-Shirt design! Be sure to check your appropriate sizes on the registration form. Featured T-Shirt design is the Orion Nebula. Both long & short sleeves t-shirts and sweatshirts are available.


2018 IDSSP Speakers and Activities

On Friday – 1:00pm – Astronomy Bowl (Quiz and Trivia with prizes)  Bruce Patterson, Treasurer and Past President of the Sangamon Astronomical Society

On Friday – 2:00pm – Renae Kerrigan, Vice President of Programs & Planetarium Director at the Peoria Riverfront Museum; “Exploring Telescopes at the Top of the World” – In 2015, Renae Kerrigan became one of nine astronomy educators in the United States to visit some of the best telescopes in the world, through the National Science Foundation funded Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program. Kerrigan will share stories, images, and science from her trip to the telescopes high on the Andes Mountains in remote parts of Chile. 

On Saturday – 11:15am – Dr. James Dire, Chancellor of Methodist College in Peoria, IL.; – “In Search of the Perfect Telescope – For Visual Use” – The presentation features astrophotography images taken in Hawaii.Dr. Dire has bachelor degrees in chemistry, physics and mathematics, an MA degree in atmospheric science and a PhD in planetary astronomy. He is a seasoned astronomical observer and astrophotographer and is a regular columnist for the Astronomical League’s Reflector magazine and telescope reviewer for Astronomy Technology Today. 

On Saturday – 2:00pm – Dr. John Martin, Associate Professor of Astronomy-Physics at the University of Illinois-Springfield; “The New Era of Multi-messenger Astronomy” – Astronomy is an observational science based on remote sensing. The universe provides a limited number of ways to do this over astronomical distances. The four “messengers” available to sense the universe far beyond the Earth (in order of their discovery and use) are:  electromagnetic radiation (light), cosmic rays, neutrinos, and gravitational waves. Humans now possess the capability to use all four messengers simultaneously to observe astronomical events including black hole mergers, neutron star mergers and supernova. 

Thursday – Saturday – Swap Meet – If you’re looking for that one accessory to round out your eye piece collection or finish off that home-built scope, or maybe you have extra ATM parts that need a good home, the Swap Meet may just be the perfect opportunity. Check the message boards at each Pavilion and make your deal/s.


Astrophotography Contest
One entry per person. Attendees will select the winner. $50 First Prize – $25 Second Prize. Photos must be taken within the last year (starting from the date of last year’s star party, Sept. 23), label the pictures with the date-taken and location. We also request winners to provide SAS with a pdf version of the photo so we can post it to our website and Facebook page.

Astronomy Bowl
Quiz and Trivia with prizes

Swap Meet
“Let’s make a deal”
If you’re looking for that one accessory to round out your eye piece collection or finish off that home-built scope, or maybe you have extra ATM parts that need a good home, the Swap Meet may just be the perfect opportunity. Bring your search list or spare parts swap or sell. We’ll have a bulletin board posted at the food pavilion to connect buyers and sellers throughout the event.

"Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives." - Socrates

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