Clark Telescope

Clark Telescope

The Lowell Observatory, founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, has played an important role in science history. Our tour guide, Kevin Schindler, introduced us to such achievements as the discovery of Pluto, observations about Mars, mapping the Moon, and developing the basis for the theory of an expanding universe. We learned about the recent renovation of the Clark Telescope before seeing this impressive telescope for ourselves. The nearby Mausoleum for Percival Lowell (1855-1916) features an impressive dome. Our stop at the Putnam Collection Center lobby offered us the opportunity to see “Big Red,” Percival Lowell’s 1911 Stevens-Duryea automobile. Another exhibit, “The Millionaire,” displays a motorized calculating machine used from 1914 into the 1930s. I appreciated the opportunity to walk between the stacks of the library housed in this building. Later we learned that the Lowell Observatory is home to 14 astronomers who study everything from Pluto, to the Sun, to distant galaxies using seven telescopes, including a giant Discovery Channel Telescope located about 40 miles away. For more than 50 years, Lowell Observatory has played a major role in the protection of “dark skies.” In 2001, Flagstaff was designated as the world’s first international Dark Sky City.

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