O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

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

Staff:  Mark Faust, Stephen Ford

Visitation Page


    Have A Merry Christmas And Come See The New Observatory Site!



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 probably wait until spring to start work on the building.  If there is a change, you'll find out on this site.

It's high time we have an observing session for the O'Neill area to get things started! We now have tried twice 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 this month!

This month we'll start out with a chance to view some meteors!  The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks on the 13th and the moon will not interfere.  Visitors that night should bring plenty of warm clothing, a lawn chair, chaise lounge, or blanket to lay on the ground.  We will not view through scopes - just watch the sky for meteors.  This session will be cancelled if it's not nice and clear. The second viewing session will be offered 2 days later with a back-up/cloud date the next night.  Bring something to sit on for this session too, but we will look through scopes.  I hope Mother Nature doesn't thwart all these attempts!  You can scroll down the page for the specifics.

It could be quite cold the night of the observing sessions.  Dress warmer than you could imagine needing and you should be comfortable.  This first observing session will be at the new site even though the observatory is not there yet.  Please note this session 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"



Click here for a Google Maps link!

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


Wednesday - December 13th - 9:00 to 11:00 PM - Viewing of the Geminid Meteor Shower - Bring a lawn chair, chaise lounge, or blanket to lay on the ground!  We will not use telescopes.

Friday - December 15 - 7:00 PM (Back-up date December 16 at the same time)  - Observing session at the future Honey Creek Observatory site.  The moon will be near new and not in the evening sky.  Visitors will get a constellation tour.  After that we'll take a look at Uranus and Neptune and a few Deep Sky Objects. 

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.


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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