Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona

Astronomical highlight #2 of our Rote 66 tour included a visit to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. This was where Percival Lowell discovered old, poor Pluto and also made maps of the 'canals" on Mars! :-) We went rather late on a somewhat cloudy night and viewed a number of objects through the observatory's stattic scopes, as well as some portable scopes set up in the grounds (a 16" Discovery dob, 8" Meade LX200 Classic and 8" Orion dob). Views were okay. My Lightbridge easily rivaled the view of Jupiter through their 16". The large scope at the observatory was out of commission due to some recalibration work being done to their drive gear system. Oh well. Still, it was great to walk around a historical, astronomical site.

We also took in a general lecture presented by one of the astronomers on staff. He gave a brilliant review of the Drake Equation which my whole family understood, as well as a beginner-level review of the constellations. All in all, a worthwhile visit!


K said...

It sounds like the Lowell observatory is a pretty fun place! I think that if more people went to these places just once then they would understand why astronomy is so great. Even the lecture sounds like it would at least be interesting. Hopefully next time you will be able to see through the large scope, they always seem to be breaking down, don't they?

Anonymous said...

I saw a replica of a Percial Lowell Mars Canal globe on ebay:

I find it pretty cool - what do you think?

Phil said...

Hi K: Yes, it's a great spot and very accessible to the public. I'm heading back there next year so fingers crossed...


Phil said...

Hi Peter,

That's a nice globe! Very cool. Pricy, though!!!