O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

Assistant Directors: Jay Rasmussen, Kay Wolfe, and Dan Glomski

Staff: Leon Thompson

Equipment Page


For those of you wanting to know the "nuts and bolts" of the observatory's equipment - this page is for you.
Here goes:

The main instrument is a 17.5" fork mounted equatorial Newtonian reflector driven with ServoCAT GOTO drive designed and engineered by Jay Rasmussen of Kenesaw Nebraska. 

The new truss shroud was created by Heather Teeter of Shrouds By Heather - http://www.scopeshrouds.com/                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Right Ascension gear is a 12" Mathis 266 tooth anodized aluminum gear purchased in the early 80's.

The Declination gear was manufactured by www.gototelescopes.com  and is a 12" 360 tooth anodized aluminum gear.

The mirror was manufactured by the former Coulter Optics and is supported by a Novak 18 pt cell - previously owned by Charles Morris at the JPL in Pasadena California. Now tested by Steve Swayze of Portland Oregon, refigured, and re-coated with enhanced coatings by Spectrum Coatings of Deltona Florida.

The spider is custom made by Jay Rasmussen and the secondary mirror holder was created by Kenneth Novak - deceased.

The focuser is a Jim's Mobile EV-1nM 2" Crayford with motorized focus.

Finders include a University Optics (no longer in business) 11x80 mm with right angle amici prism or straight through option and a Telrad manufactured by my friend, now deceased, Steve Kufeldt in Southern California.

10,000 step digital encoder setting circles are employed along with SkyCommander database.

Eyepieces include, among others, 4 Televue Naglers 20mm type 2, 13 mm, 9 mm, and 7 mm.

Light pollution rejection filters include Lumicon Deep Sky and Ultra High Contrast - in 2" and 1.25" sizes and an OIII filter in 2" size.

For photography I have an Orion StarShoot AutoGuider I attach to the 11 x 80 finder.   Imaging is done by a Canon EOS T3i with Gary Honis modified Baader UV/IR cutoff filter and camera control with EOS Backyard.

In addition to the large scope I also have a vintage 1972 Optical Craftsman 6" f10 (Sirius Model) German Equatorial Reflector with added clock drive and circles, a set of 10x70 Fujinon binoculars on a parallelogram suspension mount, and a 10" Meade (link shows a newer model)dobsonian mounted reflector.

Printed star charts include Skalnate Pleso, Sky Atlas 2000, and Uranametria 2000. Astronomical Software includes Megastar, Cartes du Ciel, Stellarium, Tri-Atlas (now apparently known as the Deep Sky Hunter Atlas) etc. There is also a respectable library of astronomical texts/observers handbooks etc.  The observatory at this point has no internet access, but will have a computer with CRT monitor and SSD storage - so nothing will freeze up in the winter or reader arms on HDDs  that won't warp in summer heat :)

The observatory has Thousand Oaks Optical filters for solar photography with a 500 mm lens and viewing through a 80mm Swarovski spotting scope (newer version linked) equipped with Baader Solar Film.

The observatory now has a Sky Quality Meter and will be reporting sky darkness to Loss of the Night and Globe at Night.


Keep Looking Around!

Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator
Send comments to: mark.urwiller@gmail.com

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