Categories: Astrophotosmilky way

Astrophoto: The Milky Way Over Panther Creek State Park

Amateur astronomers from Illinois frequently venture out to Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Park, a 26-square mile conservation area of prairie and forest, famous for having the darkest skies in the state. But of course, lots of folks head out to the park to enjoy other things like the picturesque landscapes, the wildlife, and the solitude.

This past week my friend Ben Romang went to do some camping at Panther Creek, and with a borrowed camera, wanted to make his first attempt at photographing the night sky. He was hoping to nab some Perseid meteors, but instead was overwhelmed with the beauty of the expansive sky overhead. For his first try, I think he did a pretty good job of capturing the view, don’t you?

Ben used a Canon 7D, with an EF 24-70mm lens.

If you’d like to see these amazing dark skies for yourself, the perfect time would be during the annual Illinois Dark Sky Star Party, held every year by the local astronomy group in my area, the Sangamon Astronomical Society. It’s a great event, with a wonderful observing site, lots of room for camping, great food, interesting speakers (so claims their website — I’ve spoken there a few times!), and very friendly folks who are passionate about amateur astronomy. This year the Dark Skies Party is October 3-6, 2013. Find out more about the event here.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

Recent Posts

NASA and SpaceX Will Study Low-Cost Plan to Give Hubble a Boost

NASA and SpaceX say they'll conduct a feasibility study into a plan to reboost the…

5 mins ago

The First Telescope Images of DART's Impact are Starting to Arrive

The ESA just released a video that shows the DART mission impacting the double-asteroid system…

1 hour ago

Robots Might Jump Around to Explore the Moon

LEAP (Legged Exploration of the Aristarchus Plateau) is a mission concept study, funded by ESA,…

7 hours ago

Innovation to combat space debris – Chinese scientists introduce drag sail

Scientists at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) have devised an ingenious way to…

11 hours ago

Alaska Has New Lakes. Unfortunately, They’re Releasing a lot of Methane

A NASA scientist is finding newly formed lakes in Alaska that are belching greenhouse gases…

21 hours ago

Jupiter’s Atmosphere is Surprisingly Hot

Jupiter's upper atmosphere should be pretty cold, but it is surprisingly quite hot.

1 day ago