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Comet Neowise has faded from its former glory, but it's still visible to the naked eye from a dark site, like the observatory site, for a few more days. It will be visible in binoculars for longer. The viewing sessions before I left for the Unofficial Nebraska Star Party had a total of about a dozen people. The conditions weren't the best, but the comet was easily visible to the naked eye!
August viewing sessions will feature another special opportunity. The Platte Valley Astronomical Observers will hold a star party at Honey Creek Observatory on August 21 and/or 22 starting at 9:00 PM. If it's clear we'll have observing both nights. As that date gets closer I will be posting to the observatory listserv about codes of conduct and parking instructions for the public. If conditions permit, some PVAO members will be imaging deep sky objects. Doing this requires that visitors are careful about car lights, white flashlights, and cell phone screens. There should be several large scopes and people who will be happy to show you objects in the night sky (including the comet) and answer questions. If you or your children have an interest in astronomy, this is a good opportunity to explore it!
I have posted photos of the 2020 Unofficial Nebraska Star Party on the "news page" Check it out.
If you wish to be added to the e-mail and/or text list - e-mail me at email@example.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!
Bring a lawn chair if possible 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!
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!
August 8th - Viewing beginning at 9:30 PM. This session will begin with viewing of Comet Neowise . After viewing the comet we will have a constellation tour, then...we will explore some deep sky objects like the great star cluster in Hercules - among others!
August 21st and/or 22nd - Platte Valley Astronomical Observers star party at Honey Creek Observatory starting at 9:00 PM. Everyone is welcome - no matter how far away you come from :) Make sure you have information that is sent out on the listserv about parking and star party rules before coming. Please register (free) so we know how many to plan for. If you're not on the observatory listserv, email me to join. If you want to join the text list (also free) for faster notification, I will also need your phone number and the name of your cell provider.
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!
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
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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Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator
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