O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

Staff:  Leon Thompson, Jiya Chaudhari, Austin Walrab

Visitation Page


Celebrate Memorial Day Safely!


Boldly Go Were Few Have Gone Before!

Join Our Listservs!  Get E-mail Announcements (No Advertisments!), Ask Questions/Share Answers.

Get Texts Informing You of Impromptu Viewing Sessions!  E-mail  mark.urwiller@tutanota.com to Join!

Videos For The Current Month Are Provided As Soon As They Become Available.


Turn Off The Sound At The Top

Of This Page To Listen To These Videos!

(The Width of a Full Moon is Roughly 1/2 Degree.)

Download This Month's Star Charts Here


We had a guest from Atkinson on April 8th - a retired physician.  He had a great time and it was great to have him.  The April 29th session had to be cancelled due to weather.  The rain chances are welcomed - we need it!  We have a special event in May - if the weather cooperates.  On the night of May 15th into the early morning hours of the 16th there will be a total lunar eclipse.  Here is information on what to expect in the O'Neill area.  I will hold a public viewing under two conditions - 1) weather conditions are good  2)  Interest is shown by emailing me at mark.urwiller@gmail.com (or my tutanota address) at least one day before the eclipse.  If you are not a member of the observatory email and/or text list, now is a good time to join!  It's totally free and more information is below.

Viewing times are below.  If you come out, make sure to dress appropriately for a long stay.  Lunar eclipses take awhile.  Bring something to sit on.  Be aware there are no restrooms at the observatory.  If you have a digital camera with interchangeable lenses, a tripod, and a remote release, I will help you photograph the event.  Cell phones really don't work well unless you have a mount the phone up to an eyepiece to shoot a-focally - which I don't.

It's still the season to view other galaxies in the sky.  There are nice ones in Ursa major (Big Dipper), Leo (the Lion), and Virgo.  We will certainly look at some galaxies for our dark sky (no moon) viewing session.  Spring is also the time the birds around the observatory become more vocal.  Upland Sandpipers and Common Snipe have very interesting sounds which I will point out if we hear them.

Bring way more clothes than you think you might need and you might be warm enough.  Don't forget something warm for your head, hands, and feet!

In case of viewing session cancellation, I put out messages on the observatory email listserv and text lists.  If you wish to be added to the e-mail and/or text list - e-mail me at mark.urwiller@tutanota.com.  If you want to be on the text list I need your phone number and provider.  These services are free and free of ads/spam!

Please note these sessions are 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:

Google Maps

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 mile to the red gate.  Proceed north of the gate another few hundred feet.  You will see the entrance on the right.  We will have you park along the fence near the entrance.  Be advised there is an electric fence on 3 sides of the building location.  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 sessions and activities for May: 

Please email or 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.  Those on the text listserv will receive messages keeping you informed.  There is also the issue of whether the road is passable due to mud/snow depending on the time of year.

May 6th - Viewing beginning at 9:30 PM. We'll take a look at the nearly 1st Qtr moon and some double stars as well. We will of course have a constellation tour.  Bring a lawn chair and plenty of warm clothes. It could still be chilly.

May 15/16th - Those interested in attending need to contact me at mark.urwiller@gmail.com at least one day before this event.  "If" enough interest is shown (and weather conditions permit), we will begin observing at 9:30 PM on the 15th.  Viewing will end at about midnight.  Check above for more information.

May 27th - Viewing beginning at 9:30 PM. This will be moonless evening and we'll take advantage of it by looking at deep sky objects. Let's make this a galaxy night!  The Spring sky is full of galaxies and we will look at some in Ursa Major, Canes Venatici, Leo, and Virgo.  We will of course have a constellation tour.  Bring a lawn chair and plenty of warm clothes. It could still be chilly!

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!

point.gif (974 bytes)

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. 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)  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:

Keep Looking Around!

Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator

Home  Introduction  Visitation Dates  Observatory Equipment  Links 

Observatory News  Photos    Light Pollution  PVAO