O'Neill Nebraska

Director - Mark Urwiller

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

Visitation Page


      The Reconstruction Will Proceed ASAP At The New Site, But Help Is Needed!  Volunteer To Join The Happy Crew To Rebuild It!


Boldly Go Were Few Have Gone Before!



A New Site Has Been Found!


The Kearney facility is now gone.  I wish to thank the following people for their help in taking it down - Jay Rasmussen, Bob Runyan, Tom and Spencer Shield, Eric Mandernach, and Carter Siebke.  It would not have been possible without them! 

Thanks to Kathy Boyle and James Parsons of Dallas Texas for their generous offer to allow the new observatory to sit on their property! 

The walls of the observatory required 6 people to load into the trailer which hauled it up here.  Local volunteers with some "muscle" will be needed in the O'Neill area! 

Jim Gokie of O'Neill has already volunteered a tractor to help clear the grass and do some minor leveling.  The following would also be helpful:  A power auger for 8 inch holes. (18 holes about 4 ft deep will be needed for 4x4 posts for the walls and rails.) 

The new site north of O'Neill is off from Road 883 west of Hwy 281.  It has all of the criteria I was hoping for - good roads and easy access to the site, electricity nearby, no lights on the site or visible from the site, open skies free of obstruction, and most importantly - wonderful hosts who are also excited about sharing this facility with the schools and public!  Here is a map which shows, if you zoom in, light pollution areas near O’Neill.  If you follow Hwy 281 north and zoom in to Road 883 (Johnson's 3 Eagles Road) you will find this area is almost at the darkest possible on the light pollution scale.  (The darkest sites in Nebraska are about 100 miles west, south of Valentine.)  This new observatory is VERY dark and reasonably near O'Neill. You can see the glow of O'Neill in the south, but most city dwellers have never seen a sky this dark!  I am very lucky to have found it!  There are no plans to put up signs on Hwy 281 or on Road 883.  A link for detailed directions will be placed on this page or will be sent to those interested in visiting once the observatory is up and running.  As in Kearney we want to have visitors register and let us know how many will be coming.  There will be no cost involved!   It will take a few weeks to rebuild the building, get the telescope re-oriented, and re-set the electronics.  I will post progress on this site and will make sure the Holt County Independent posts an article announcing this facility is open!  Oh, one more thing, the observatory at the new location will now be called Honey Creek Observatory - named after a small creek on the property!  The observatory web pages will continue, but will be accessed under a new domain/URL address - www.hcobs.org  A redirect will most likely be posted for a while.

I have contacted the public and catholic schools in O'Neill as well as the Chambers school and Northeast Community College which has facilities in O'Neill.  Needless to say they are all eager to have the observatory as an educational resource! 


   Here's a link for directions to the observatory starting from O'Neill:  (pending)

New Directions Will Be Posted When The New Building Is Ready!

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




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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