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Illinois Dark Skies Star Party

September 26 – 28, 2019
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.



**Mail-in Registration is closed! Any late Registration after Sept. 12, 2019 will only be taken in-person at the star party site. **


There is an extra charge of $20 at the door (instituted in 2015). Because mail-in registration is closed, pre-orders for food and shirts are no longer accepted. There may also be an opportunity to purchase meals directly from the vendor, but since it’s after the registration deadline, we would encourage you to bring your own food.



The 18th Annual Illinois Dark Skies Star Party will be held at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, 25 miles Northwest of Springfield, Illinois. Registration fees are due by the Sept. 12, 2019 deadline to ensure availability of meals and t-shirt/sweatshirt orders. There is a $20 late fee for registrations after Sept. 12, 2019.

  • $50 per person.  There is plenty of room for tents, campers and RVs.
  • $80 per family, (Immediate family of four – $10 per person over four).
  • The general observing area has restrooms, but NO ELECTRICITY.

2019 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.

Check out the new 2019 IDSSP T-Shirt and Hooded Sweatshirt design! Be sure to check your appropriate sizes on the registration form. Featured T-Shirt design is Saturn. Both long & short sleeves t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts are available.

2019 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.

Thanks to Our Supporters:

2019 IDSSP Speakers and Activities


Dr. John Martin will talk about his research efforts into blue variables, which he is conducting at the University’s observatory near Pleasant Plains.

Dr. James Dire, who gave a talk on selecting the perfect telescope, will give a part two that focuses on astrophotography.

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

Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish & Wildlife Area is Illinois’ largest park. It’s a recreational dream and it makes a great home for three nights of observing.

  • There are several large group camping areas for your use, which means lots of room to stretch out.
  • Adjacent to the event site are extensive camping facilities for tent and trailer campers, self-contained RV pads and nine lakeside cabins.  However, the RV sites and Cabins (electricity available) must be reserved through the ReserveAmerica website at https://www.reserveamerica.com/ReserveAmerica handles camping reservations for the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.
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