O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

Staff:  Leon Thompson

Visitation Page

   

Clouds, Clouds, Go Away...

 

Boldly Go Were Few Have Gone Before!

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

Visitations/Activities

The weather for both events in May both had to be cancelled due to clouds.  We just can't seem to catch a break.  I haven't looked through a scope in weeks myself!

School is out for Summer which is nice, but this time of year brings other obstacles for observing.  The days are longest and the nights the shortest.  With being located near the western edge of the Central Time Zone and with Daylight Saving Time - it doesn't get completely dark until after 11:00 PM!  My schedule for this month has some complications including a wedding anniversary trip during dark of the moon and the need to go to Kansas to help kids/grandkids move. 

Here's what we are going to do.  The first viewing session will (hopefully) take place on June 18th at 10:00 PM.  We can view the moon and some brighter double stars.  Next we will try some solar observing on June 25th at 7:30 PM.  I have a couple of scopes with solar filters.  The sun has passed sunspot minima and is "waking up" nicely.  There have been several solar flares and CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) lately which have caused several auroral alerts while we have been having clouds, wind and/or near full moon in the sky :(  Visitors can come to see the observatory during daylight and ask questions.

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 June: 

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.

 

June 18th  - Viewing beginning at 10:00 PM . A 68% illuminated moon evening will allow us to look for craters and maria (Latin for "seas"). When it gets darker we can look at some double stars and of course a constellation tour.  Bring a lawn chair.

 

June 25th  - Viewing starting at 7:30 PM.  We will view the sun - filtered for safety of course. If you bring a flashdrive I will even send you home with a photo file.  You can also see the observatory in daylight and ask questions!  Bring a lawn chair. 

 

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!

 
Send comments to:
mark.urwiller@tutanota.com

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Mark Urwiller - Web Page Administrator

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