Aston Forest Preserve, located a few miles south of DeKalb, Illinois is relatively near a large town but still far enough away from city lights for the Milky Way to be slightly visible. It is extremely quiet and offers great views of the horizon in every direction. There is a small pavilion and plenty of room for lawn chairs and blankets. There is also parking available. The park is open to all visitors and pets (so long as they are leashed). During the day, Afton offers lovely prairie views along with bird watching opportunities, catch-and-release fishing, a paved path for joggers, bikes or those who prefer a paved route leading to a look out tower, many other trails, and shelters and charcoal grills for picnickers. “Definitely my favorite place to stargaze.”
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.