O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

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

Staff:  Mark Faust, Stephen Ford

Visitation Page

    We Invite You To Try New Things In The New Year - Like Coming To See Us - Not The Above! :)

Don't just sit around and look at each other.  Come out and visit us!


Boldly Go Were Few Have Gone Before!


Ground has not been broken for the new location of the observatory.  The design for the new floor is complete, but the number of days that might be warm enough to work this winter is the problem.  We will wait until spring to start work on the building.

It's high time we have an observing session for the O'Neill area to get things started, but we now have tried 5 times and the weather has not cooperated!  I have been pleased with the response/interest from the public!  We'll keep trying by offering more opportunities.  We'll offer some different opportunities this month.  Three more viewing sessions are scheduled - including a total lunar eclipse!  There will also be a beginning astronomy class offered at Northeast Community College.  Look for it here and register if you like.

Before you get too excited about the total lunar eclipse, I need to explain some stuff to you.  This eclipse will occur in the morning hours of January 31st.  The full moon will begin to be noticeably darkened around 5:45 AM.  Totality will begin at 6:52 AM.  The problem is, twilight will also have begun.  Totality will last over an hour, but the moon will set at 7:53 AM and the sun will rise at 7:50 AM.  In short, when the good stuff starts to happen, the sky will not be black, rather it will deep blue and increasingly brighter.  The sun will rise before totality ends.  Also, if you don't have a clear west horizon (where the moon sets) free of trees, you won't see any of the good stuff either.  The observatory has a good west horizon so I will offer viewing that morning - before school or work?  Don't bother coming out if there are clouds - especially in the west!  If it's clear - bring lawn chairs, binoculars (if you have them), warm clothing and blankets!  Check out this link!  You might have to scroll down the page a little.  One more thing - please call or e-mail up to the night before so I know there are people coming.  If the weather doesn't look good, I might be nestled in my warm bed :)

It could be quite cold the night of the observing sessions.  Dress warmer than you could imagine needing and you should be comfortable. Bring a lawn chair too if possible  These observing sessions will be at the new site even though the observatory is not there yet.  Please note these sessions will be cancelled if the sky conditions/weather are not good.  What does that mean?  Well, (optical) telescopes can't see through clouds!  It will need to be almost perfectly clear.  The next potential problem is wind.  If the wind velocity is more than about 10 mi/hr - that's too much! A telescope magnifies the size of the objects we view - and the effects of the wind!  Please check the ClearSkyClock and weather links on the home page of this site!  What if you're in doubt the observing session will take place?  If it's not perfectly clear and calm, you can call (308) 293-5776 before leaving for the session.!

Here's a link for directions to the observatory starting from O'Neill: 

From O'Neill Nebraska take US HWY 281 north to Road 883 (Johnson's Three Eagles).  Turn left (west) 2 miles to 490 Avenue.  Turn right (north) 0.6 mille to the red gate.  You will be given directions where to park at that point!  I will be putting up signs on the highway and at Ave 490 that say "Star Party"  Please call or e-mail to register so I know how many people to plan for!



Click here for a Google Maps link!

Scheduled public viewing session(s) and activities for January: 

Please call 308-293-5776 to register before 9:00 PM daily so we know how many guests to expect.  There is no charge for these events!  Also, please call before leaving town if the weather is questionable.


Saturday - January 13th - 7:00PM  Observing session at the future Honey Creek Observatory site.  The moon will not be in the evening sky.  Visitors will get a constellation tour.  After that we'll take a look at Uranus and a few Deep Sky Objects.  Bring a lawn chair and warm clothes!

Monday - January 22nd - 6:30 - 9:30 PM - Beginning Observational Astronomy/Atmospheric Optics at Northeast Community College in O'Neill 

Friday - January 26 - 7:00 PM  - Observing session at the future Honey Creek Observatory site.  The moon will be featured.  Visitors will get a constellation tour.  Those wanting more will see some double stars. Bring a lawn chair and warm clothes! 

Wednesday January 31st - 5:30 AM Lunar eclipse viewing at the future Honey Creek Observatory site.  Make sure you have read the information above!  Bring a lawn chair, binoculars, and warm clothing! 


If you want to know about all Tri-City and O'Neill Area astronomical opportunities available free to the public this month, check here!


If you would like to help us move, call us at 308-293-5776 before 10:00 PM daily or contact by e-mail. 

  We look forward to seeing you!

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When visiting the observatory, here are some rules/recommendations you should consider:

1) Please stay in or close to the observatory.  This facility is located on private property, which is not mine.  Please show your thanks to the owners by keeping the area clean and undisturbed.
2) Please, while in the observatory, don't touch anything unless you ask and/or have been instructed as to the proper use of the instrument!
3) Bring a lawn chair for each member of your group, that is if you plan on staying a while, as we hope you will. If it is clear, please keep in mind that it often takes a while to find objects for you to look at. Often there are others in line to see these things as well. If it is cloudy, you are welcome to pull up a chair and ask as many questions as you like. We have some chairs, but not many.
4) Bring a flashlight for dark-sky observing sessions!  (If the moon is in the sky, you may not need it.) You will need one of these to safely navigate from your car to the building. We purposely don't have any lights in the area of the facility. Once in the building, we generally ask that you don't use your flashlight (with its white bulb) unless you ask. We have red lights which will help you see where you are going inside the building!
5) No smoking is allowed in or around the building!
6)  In winter, please bring plenty of warm clothing! This can't be over stressed. Standing still in the cold is nothing like being active in it! Wear several layers and don't forget those gloves/mittens and something for your head. There is no such thing as glamour when it comes to staying warm!  There is no heat in the observatory!
7) In Summer - don't forget the mosquito repellant!
8) Be advised there are no bathroom facilities in the observatory!
9) No boisterous behavior within the observatory, or around it, will be tolerated!
10)  Help us keep gates closed so as to not let cattle out!  Please don't disturb the cattle.  If you like them, admire them from a distance! 

Worried about the threat of light pollution in your area? For more information on it and how you can help educate others to enjoy lights AND the night sky - check out our light pollution page and the link page!


Send comments to:

Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator

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