Friday, August 29, 2008

Dark-skies star party planned at UIS Emiquon Field Station

The University of Illinois at Springfield and the Sangamon Astronomical Society will host a dark-skies star party at the Emiquon Field Station on Saturday, September 6, at The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana and Lewistown. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required.

Co-sponsors are UIS' Emiquon Field Station and The Nature Conservancy.

The event will begin at 8 p.m. in the Field Station with a short lecture on the night sky, presented by Dr. John Martin, UIS assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics. Star gazing will be from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Many nebula, galaxies, and star clusters are too faint to be seen from urban and light-polluted areas and this event presents an opportunity to enjoy the stars under one of the darkest skies remaining in Illinois.

Members of the Sangamon Astronomical Society will be on hand with several telescopes to share their knowledge and views of the sky. Participants are also welcome to bring their own binoculars and telescopes.

Entrance to the field station is on Prairie Road, located off Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately one-and-a-half miles north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff. A map is also available online at

Everyone entering the property will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

If the skies are overcast on September 6, the event will be cancelled. To determine if the weather is suitable for viewing, call David Hedrick at The Nature Conservancy office at 309/547-2730 after 7 p.m. that evening.

For further information, contact Hedrick or send an e-mail to