Lowell Observatory is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was established in 1894 by Dr. Percival Lowell. Dr. Percival borrowed several telescopes and managed to collect a small staff and began making observations of the sky. In 1896, Dr. Percival got a 24-inch Alvan Clark refracting telescope that was 32 feet long. Costing $20,000, it is housed in a dome made of Ponderosa pine, the dome was built in ten days with ten men, using no tools. To this day is still standing, and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark; it allows viewers to go in and look through the telescope during the night shows.
Dr. Percival used this telescope to study Mars; this telescope was also used in the 1920's by V.M. Slipher to discover evidence of receding galaxies. The Lowell Observatory was mainly founded because of Dr. Percivals' interest in discovering life on mars.
Lowell observatory was the first observatory in Arizona. It is a great family attraction with its location being in the popular Tourist City of Flagstaff; the observatory looks over the city. You are guided through a tour and experiments, and also are allowed to use the telescopes they have located on Mars Hill.
There are a total of nine telescopes, eight which are at the observatory, of these many of them are historic, such as the 24" Clark Refractor that is 102 years old. The Pluto telescope dome and John Vickers McAllister telescope dome, which is 16" long, are also telescopes you would find at Lowell Observatory. The most modern telescope they have there is the Anderson Mesa Telescope. Their ninth telescope is located in Western Australia. Many of these nine telescopes are equipped with state of the art electronic cameras, auxiliary instrumentation and spectrographs. Recently they have gotten the privilege to have the access to the Navy Optical Interferometer. Lowell does a lot with NASA too; the astronomers often use NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to help with their research.
A lot of research has been done at this observatory, including the discovery of the evidence of expanding of the universe in 1912-1917 and the successful search of the ninth planet, Pluto, in 1930. Other successions they have had is participating in the mapping of the moon and observing the planets during the early years of space studies. The research never ends at the observatory; they are constantly discovering new things.
The Lowell Observatory consists of 21 well-educated astronomers, ranging from studies of planetary to extragalatic astronomy. One of the astronomers working at the observatory has discovered more asteroids then any other living astronomer. Some of the astronomers also play a large part in the recent discovery of the rings on Uranus. Besides just the study of the solar system, they study much about the formation of stars in other galaxies and the stability of stars, such as the sun. These astronomers welcome you into the planetary environment and give you some details about the solar system and explain to you why things are the way they are.
The Lowell Observatory is more then just a place to discover things; it is a learning place for everyone. It welcomes children as well as the entire public. They teach the audience by showing slide shows and workshops. The Observatory also helps with Astronomy students wishing to work there and learn more about the systems.
Besides just having the telescopes, they also welcome the public to see their museum and gift shops, and libraries.
The observatory was located in Mexico City, Mexico, but had to be moved back to Mars Hill in Flagstaff, Arizona. Because the sight was a better place to see the sky then it was while in Mexico City. The site in Mexico City was not high enough; therefore Dr. Percival was forced to move back and tear done his dome that was built in Mexico. He had tried many locations in North America for which was the best location for the sight seeing and research, but after everything he always turned back to Flagstaff, Arizona. Arizona was a much better location because of its' dry weather, and clear atmosphere.
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