Paris, Ill. (WCIA)

Since he was a young boy, astrophotographer Mark Killion has turned to the night sky and wondered an age-old question:

“It’s looking up and saying, are we the only ones out there?

Killion received his first telescope at the age of 7, but he was well into adulthood by the time he decided to pursuit astrophotography.

“I didn’t realize…you could take pictures of these galaxies and nebulae with a small telescope,” says Killion. “[At first] I was atrocious at it. It was horrible. I found out it was extremely difficult to do, but it was also a challenge.

While Killion, a retired structural engineer, insists that his passions are no more than a hobby, his astrophotography has been included in magazines and textbooks.

At The University of Illinois, renowned astronomer James B. Kaler used several of Killion’s photographs on his website and in his books.

“I was shocked that [Kaler] wanted to use my stuff, you know, but it gave me a motivation to continue,” says Killion.

When the conditions are right, Killion is on his porch or in the prairie taking photographs well into the night.

But he also wants people to know that they don’t need a telescope to explore their curiosities:

“If you go to a dark sky site you can see a lot…with the naked eye. You can see the andromeda galaxy with the naked eye. You can see a lot with binoculars, so, it is a lot of fun.”

To connect with Killion, you can visit his website HERE.