Perched atop the San Francisco mountain peak in Flagstaff, Arizona is the ONLY privately held observatory in the world.
Lowell Observatory was created by Percy Lowell in 1855.
Percy Lowell was born and raised in Massachusetts to a wealthy family. He held a Master’s Degree in mathematics at Harvard University and taught there.
Moving to Flagstaff, Arizona in 1855 Mr. Lowell had a desire to build a telescope to see the stars.
Long before radio, television, the Internet, computers, and video games Mr. Lowell created something to answer the many questions he had about our planetary system and our galaxy.
This telescope, hand crafted by Mr. Lowell, is in use today. Many other astronomers have come to call Flagstaff home and spent their lives searching into space. The planet Pluto was discovered from this mountain top using another of the many telescopes built and assembled in Flagstaff.
Bring your family to this historic place where the search of the heavens continues even today. The cost is $7.00 USD per adult (I don’t know what the charge is for children).
There are guided tours provided by a knowledgeable staff who tell you the story of Percival Lowell and his contributions to science, astronomy, and our space program.
Come learn how two brothers, who owned a bicycle shop, were commissioned by Mr. Lowell to create the dome over the telescope.
Come to hear about the various incarnations of the moving dome ceiling from the steel wheels originally used to track the heavens, later replaced by a dam of sea water, to the final idea of using automobile tires from 1950 which are still used today.
Come learn how a pie tin was filched from an astronomer’s wife to be put in place as a lens cover over a later addition to Mr. Lowell’s telescope. That pie tin is still used today as a lens cover.
Each tour is 60 minutes long and the wealth of information and historical significance is packed into each section of the tour.
The next tour is about the telescope used to photograph the stars in search of “Planet X” by an 18 year old budding astronomer who did finally find Pluto.
Walk the paths to each of the telescopes to learn about their significance to finding what lies outside the earth’s orbit up in the heavens.
Plan to stay after dark to have your chance to look through the telescope to see Venus, Saturn, Mars, Uranus, or the Moon. The cloud cover was too thick today so we were not able to stay and actually look through Mr. Lowell’s telescope.
All this for $7 per person. It is so worth the minimal charge.
Joe and I spent the afternoon with Carissa and Jaime exploring this large complex.
I even got an interesting photo that I really like.
This was a relaxing day for Joe and I. Took our minds off the troubles of our trucks and this crazy event filled trip.