O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

Staff:  Leon Thompson, Jiya Chaudhari

Visitation Page

If You've Got The Time...

We've Got The Scopes!




Boldly Go Were Few Have Gone Before!

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

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



My schedule for August changed a little and I was able to add a Perseid Meteor viewing session.  The sky turned out to be clear enough and those in attendance were glad to see some meteors.  The weather for the viewing session on Auguest 15th also turned out well and visitors enjoyed the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Both of these planets will be well placed for viewing in September as well.

The first viewing opportunity for September will be Friday the 3rd.  The moon will not rise until late in the night so if the weather cooperates the very dark sky at the observatory will allow us to look deep into the cosmos.  One week later on the 10th the moon will appear in the evening sky as a 17 percent illuminated crescent.  Both nights will feature good views of Jupiter and Saturn!

I will be teaching 2 classes at Northeast Community College O'Neil Campus in September.  The first will be a beginning astronomy class at 6:30 PM on the 20th.  The second class is a new offering - Introduction to Birding - with an evening session on the 27th at 6:30 PM and a field trip on Saturday October 2nd at 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM.  Contact NECC in O'Neill for more information.

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 September: 

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.  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.


September 3rd - Viewing beginning at 9:00 PM.  No moon - deep sky observing - nebulae, clusters, and galaxies!  Saturn and Jupiter will be visible too.  We will of course have a constellation tour.  Bring a lawn chair. 

September 10th  - Viewing beginning at 9:00 PM. 17 percent illuminated crescent moon.  Saturn and Jupiter will be visible too.  We will of course have a constellation tour.  Bring a lawn chair.  

September 20th - 6:30-9:30 PM - Beginning Observational Astronomy class at the O'Neill campus of Northeast Community College.  Call NECC for details.

September 27th - 6:30-9:30 PM (classroom) and October 2nd 8:00 -11:00 AM (Field Experience) - Beginning Birding class at the O'Neill campus of Northeast Community College.  Call NECC for details. Recommended (not required) field guide – National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 7th edition – available for about $22 on Amazon.  Bring any field guide you have and your binoculars.

November 15th - 6:30-9:30 PM - Creative Digital Photography class at the O'Neill campus of Northeast Community College.  Call NECC for details.

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)  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!

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Keep Looking Around!

Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator

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