Exciting year ahead for Lowell Observatory

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Exciting activities are in store for Lowell Observatory’s future.

I’m really pleased to be involved with Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, a cherished institution, as a member of their Advisory Board. Last year’s meeting was my first, and now Jeff Hall, the observatory’s director, has announced that the annual board meeting this year will take place again in June. I expect to take a trip to the observatory and create several exciting projects while there — filming some locations like Lowell, the U.S. Naval Observatory, Meteor Crater, the U.S. Geological Survey, and others while in the area. You’ll see some exciting stuff from that trip, I hope, later this year. 

This is also a milestone moment for Lowell, the nation’s premier private observatory and really a unique place in all of science. I like to call Lowell “America’s Observatory” because it embodies so much about the struggle for scientific knowledge and the history of American science too. Lowell of course is the site of the 24-inch Clark refractor made famous with countless observations, used by Percival Lowell to study Mars, and the Sliphers to discover the expansion of the universe and to record numerous planetary images. It‘s of course also the site of the 13-inch “Pluto Camera,” with which Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, and so any other historic achievements. And it is a vibrant center of astronomical research that continues on unabated. 

This is a big period coming for the observatory. Visitation continues to rise at an impressive rate. This has created a need to expand Lowell’s visitor services, visitor center, and public facilities that allow Lowell to be an entrance point for so many people getting to know the universe. Just recently, the observatory announced plans for a new public observing plaza. This will permit visitors to observe the night sky with an array of sophisticated telescopes, beyond the very popular historic Clark refractor. The project is named the Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO), in recognition of a lead gift from John and Ginger Giovale, fellow advisory board members. The observatory will consist of a 5,000-square-foot plaza with a roll-off-roof observatory that will host a suite of telescopes. Plans include a 32-inch reflector that would be the largest telescope on Mars Hill. 

For more on this exciting project, please see:

https://lowell.edu/lowell-observatory-announces-new-public-observing-plaza/

For more information on Lowell, please visit the observatory’s outstanding website, here:

https://lowell.edu/

Stay tuned for more exciting news about Lowell Observatory as the year unfolds. This hallowed institution is going to be more incredible than it already is. 

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