John O'Neal, North Carolina Stargazer







.Astro Clubs

Past Outreach

Future Outreach
Annual Reviews

My Observatory

Local Astronomy Clubs

Most Used Links

My Ambient Wx Station

My Comet Site

Contact Me

John's Ramblings and Musings 

Pam & Randy Shivak and Dorothy O'Neal and I at CAMP SOLARACTIVITY in Smith's Ferry, Idaho on August 21st, 2017 for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse

Shiloh Observatory compleX (SOX) Dedication - May 20th, 2017

The SOX Solar Observatory, the first building in the Shiloh Observatory Complex

The SOX Solar Observatory, my first building in the Shiloh Observatory Complex. On May 20th, 2017 we held a dedication cceremony for the first observatory building to our Shiloh Observatory Complex. We invited friends and neighbors over to partake in the festivities! Now, if the weather holds out, all will be fine. The prediction calls for mostly clear skies until after midnight, then rain...

An 8
We hung the SOLARACTIVITY Banner and Telescope Viewing on the carport facing the street to help people find us.We hung out banners on the side of the future Spectro BuildingAn 8" Reflector and 8" SCT were setup for guests to use.
We displayed some of our images and books, etc on the POD Deck.And we set up our outreach display tablesShowing off the Sun and the Solar Observatory.
Jeff manning the 8" Newt.The Red Rope Lights were fun, while preserving our night vision Bob manning the Meade LX200

We put up our popup tent and umbrella to shade our guests. It was quite sunny.

Some of our neighbors and astronomy friendsWe strung red lights to keep dark sky adaptation after dark.
Our neighbor, Amber, checking out Planets in the eyepiece.Our neighbor, Amber, took this photo of Jupiter & his attendant Moons through the 6" Refractor with her smartphoneAmber commented: "One of the coolest things I've seen, ever. The first picture is Jupiter and 4 moons, and the second, its Saturn! I'm glad my phone could pick it up through the telescope. I mean, just look at it! Its amazing! Thanks to our neighbors for allowing us to view."
We had a wonderful time with our new neighbors and friends from the astronomy club. The weather was fabulous and the skies were clear. The Pizza was GREAT and the sodas were cold, and it doesn't get much better than that. Dorothy and I would like to thank everybody for making our special evening a success.

Astronomy Week/Arbor Day at Hickory Science Center with The Catawba Valley Astronomy Club

On April 22nd, 2017 Dorothy and I were at the Catawba Science Center in Hickory, NC with the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club and doing solar outreach for Astronomy Week and Arbor Day. We had some more hi-res solar images framed for our table. Since the weather was mostly cloudy we only broke out the Sun Bucket.
All setup on the lawn and ready for visitors...Our display table looks nice with Dorothy's added touches.Dorothy is manning the Sun Bucket, our homemade Solar Projection Scope

One of the administrators at the event estimated that we
had about 500 visitors over the course of the morning.
 I'm calling this event a SUCCESS!!!


Some of the interesting people we met at NEAIC & NEAF In April, 2017 in Suffern, NY. This event is truly a Who's who of who and what is relevant and happening in current astronomical circles. The talks and presentations were all top notch and cutting edge. For gearheads, the latest, greatest gear, software, etc was on display and for sale at special event pricing. Plus it was nice seeing so many friends there, as well as the new friends we made...
Charlie Warren of Amateur Astronomy Magazine & I at NEAIC, 2017Pamela & Randy Shivak w/Stephen Ramsden in the background at the NEAF Star PartyFrank liked my presentation and we talked for quite a while afterwards...Dorothy O'Neal and Caroline Moore at the Registration Desk
Fellow Black River Astro member, Ed Swonger and Chuck Cynamon and Randy ShivakFellow Black River Astro members, Pamela Shivak, Dorothy O'Neal and myself at Applebees.Gary Parkerson of Astronomy Technology Today, my fave astro magazine!!!Fellow Black River Astro member, Ed Swonger and I at NEAICBob Moore has it ALL going on. What a guy!!!
The walk of Fame!!!The DAYSTAR Booth was always busy!!!Fred Bruenges and Joey rockin' the DAYSTAR gear on the observing field.

‎I presented my lecture HIGH RESOLUTION SOLAR IMAGING to a packed room at the 2017 North East Astro Imaging Conference in Suffern, New York. We talked about seeing and how to quantify it and more importantly, how to select your site and gear to improve seeing. We showed how the NYQUIST SMPLING THEORY can be utilized as a guide to select the proper gear to resolve seeing issues and to assure optimal system performance and matching cameras and scopes and other elements of the imaging train to avoid undersampling and stay within the confines  & restraints of the seeing and your equipment. 

Here's a link to a VIDEO of the Solar Star Party at NEAF, shot by Stephen Ramsden.Dorothy and I at Suffern, NY for NEAIC/NEAF.

A couple of months while my friend & nephew Todd O'Neal was visiting we placed 3 piers in what will eventually become the SHILOH OBSERVATORY COMPLEX.  (SOX)

My image made AAPOD˛ for January 26th, 2017

Here's a 4 panel mosaic, shot in my backyard Observatory, showing the similarities and subtle differences between various monochromatic wavelengths of Solar light.

All were shot with "Little Levi", a 102mm f/7.0 refractor on a Losmandy G-11 in a SKYSHED POD using a ZWOASI174mm CMOS Imaging camera.

The upper left frame was shot with a Tele Vue Powermate (2140mm EFL) and the DAYSTAR FILTERS Calcium H QUARK. 

The upper right frame was shot with a DAYSTAR FILTERS Hydrogen Alpha QUARK Chromosphere, tuned offband. (3070mm EFL) 

I tuned the H-Alpha Quark off-band to closer resemble the features of NOAA AR2603 and enhance the comparison with the other filters.

The lower left frame was shot with a BAADER Herschel Wedge and Continuum Filter at 2140mm EFL. 

The lower right frame was shot with a DAYSTAR FILTERS Sodium D QUARK. (3070mm EFL)

This shot was awarded Picture of the day for January 26th, 2017 on the AAPOD˛ website.

I drove to North Carolina on May 30th, 1984. On May 29th I worked 3-11 shaift. My scope was packed in the car, so when I got off at 11pm, I jumped in the car, headed east on the Ohio Turnpike to Route #77 South and headed for Lake Norman. Very close to where it turns out I now reside. Who woulda thought?  
Occurring from late morning until early afternoon, most of the southeastern United States was treated to an amazing view as the sun almost completely disappeared behind the moon.  The moon's blockage of the sun reached 99.8% totality at its maximum extent.  No point on the Earth's surface experienced a total eclipse; this is known as an annular eclipse.  The best views of this eclipse were in a stripe extending from New Orleans, LA across Montgomery, AL; Atlanta, GA; Greenville, SC; Lake Norman, NC; to Greensboro, NC.  According to newspaper reports from the time, the rare "diamond necklace" effect was noticed as dots of sunlight appeared to shine through valleys on the moon's surface.  Birds were reported to have been fooled by the disappearance of the sun and began settling down for their night's sleep as darkness fell. 
Unfortunately, the Eastern Carolinas, including Florence, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington and New Bern, were covered beneath thick clouds with rain and missed seeing this eclipse.  Skies across the area didn't clear out until early the following morning.
Cloud Cover Map