Lowell Observatory is pleased to announce Mark Kelly as keynote speaker for the 2014 Lowell Speaker Series. This event will take place on June 7, 2014 at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff. Captain Kelly is an American astronaut, retired US Navy Captain, best-selling author, prostate cancer survivor, and experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four shuttle missions in 2001 aboard the Endeavour, the same shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. Since retiring from NASA, Kelly has written several books, including two for children. He is married to former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Continue reading
Deidre Hunter, longtime astronomer at Lowell Observatory, has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Education Prize.
The AAS awards this prize annually “to recognize outstanding contributions to the education of the public, students and/or the next generation of professional astronomers.” Hunter was chosen “for co-founding and successfully running for the last 17 years a science and astronomy education program for 5th-8th grade Navajo-Hopi students and their teachers (of Arizona, and New Mexico), a historically underserved and culturally isolated population.” Continue reading
Lowell Observatory’s latest traveling exhibit, Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists, opens January 18. Produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, this interactive display reveals what we know, don’t know, and think we know about one of the great space mysteries. Continue reading
Flagstaff, Ariz. – Officials from Lowell Observatory and Northern Arizona University (NAU) signed paperwork Tuesday formalizing NAU as a Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) partner.
NAU joins current DCT science partners Boston University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Toledo. The DCT is a 4.3-meter instrument, making it the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States. It’s located 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff, near Happy Jack. Continue reading
After 117 years of nearly continuous use, first as a research instrument and later as an educational tool, we will close the Clark Telescope on January 1, 2014 for renovation.
Reopening is expected some time in 2015. During the closure, guests will still be able to see the Clark dome during most daytime tours. For evening telescope viewing, we will use the newly renovated 16-inch McAllister Telescope as our primary public telescope.
More than a million guests have seen the Clark Telescope, including Leonard Nimoy, who visited with Carolyn Shoemaker at the telescope during this 1998 film shoot. The upcoming renovation project will ensure that millions of guests in the future will be able to experience this classic telescope.
Director of Technical Services and telescope expert Ralph Nye has been working on details of planning and preparation for the renovation. Next comes the dramatic step of removing the telescope, which will happen in January as weather allows. Stay tuned for renovation updates…
Comet ISON continues to speed toward the sun, brightening as it approaches a November 28 rendezvous with our nearest stellar neighbor.
Since ISON is only visible for a short time in the predawn hours, we don’t plan on any public viewing up through Thanksgiving. If ISON does survive the sun and is clearly visible, we may then view it.
For more information about the potential fate of ISON, read Matthew’s Knight’s account at http://tinyurl.com/pyc9qvs. To see a constantly updated calculation of ISON’s speed, and distance to both the sun and Earth, see Emory University’s Distance Calculator at http://tinyurl.com/n6pb5wu.
Lowell Observatory is pleased to announce a new traveling exhibit, The Evolving Universe. This exhibition, developed by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, reveals the dynamic and evolving universe through breathtaking photographs and informative captions.
The Evolving Universe explores how the stars, galaxies and universe undergo the same stages as life on Earth: from birth, to maturity and, eventually, to death. This remarkable journey from present-day Earth to the far reaches of space and time will be on view at Lowell Observatory from October 12 through January 5 and will then continue to travel on an exciting sixteen city tour through 2017. Continue reading
Scientists have reached another important milestone with Lowell’s Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). Comet experts Dave Schleicher and Matthew Knight, along with Stephen Levine, Commissioning Scientist for Lowell’s Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT), observed Comet 10P/Tempel 2 on five nights in early 2013.
These observations helped the team refine the rotational behavior of Tempel 2, results which they’ve described in a paper accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of The Astronomical Journal, a leading peer-reviewed scientific journal.
This represents the first refereed paper accepted for publication that uses DCT data. See an abstract at http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.2944
Flagstaff, Ariz. — Today William Lowell Putnam announced his intent to step down from his position as sole trustee of Lowell Observatory. Grandnephew of Observatory founder Percival Lowell, Putnam assumed trusteeship of the Observatory in 1987 following a successful career as a broadcast executive.
Serving as the Observatory’s fourth trustee since Percival Lowell’s death in1916, Putnam left an indelible mark on the organization. During his tenure, the number of astronomers on staff has grown to 18, the facility has seen the addition of a new 6,500-square-foot visitor center and an archive facility, that, when construction is finished, will house the Observatory’s collection of rare photographic glass plates, manuscripts, library of scientific publication, and other documents and artifacts. Continue reading
Pluto and the Planets
Come experience the planets as you never have before! Lowell’s newest special exhibit, “Pluto and the Planets,” features giant planets, scaled to size. Visitors of all ages can explore the Solar System through an engaging display featuring a full-color inflatable Jupiter (15-feet in diameter), historic artifacts from Lowell’s own planetary research, and exciting hands-on activities.
Earth from Space
This Smithsonian poster exhibit presents large color reproductions of images captured by high-tech satellites constantly circling the globe, recording conditions and events that are nearly impossible to document on the planet’s surface. Rare views of events such as dust storms, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes are accompanied by text that explains how satellite imagery is gathered and used to explore Earth. Documenting environmental cycles, natural disasters, and man-made ecological effects, satellite images provide clues about the dynamic nature of our planet.