Lowell Observatory, Boston University Announce Discovery Channel Telescope Partnership

Lowell Observatory announces that Boston University (BU) has signed a long-term agreement to become a partner for the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). The agreement in perpetuity grants BU astronomers use of the world-class, four-meter telescope for 40 or more nights each year.

“Lowell Observatory has a strong relationship with BU that we expect will get stronger as a result of this agreement,” says Lowell director Dr. Jeff Hall. “We look forward to increased scientific and outreach collaboration with BU.”

BU will pay $10 million divided into one-year installments during the next decade, most of which will go toward the University’s perpetual-use share of the DCT. Thereafter, BU will pay roughly $500,000 per year for ongoing operating costs for its share of both the DCT and Lowell’s telescopes on Anderson Mesa. BU is second only to Discovery Communications and Discovery founder John Hendricks in its contribution to the DCT project, and the only Lowell partner to have opted for a long-term use investment in the facility.

In 1998, the Observatory and BU formed a partnership to share in the use and operational costs of the Perkins Telescope, along with Georgia State University.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Contact Chuck Wendt, Lowell Observatory, (928) 233-3201, cwendt[at]lowell[dot]edu

About the Discovery Channel Telescope

The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) – being built by Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona – will be among the most technically sophisticated ground-based telescopes of its size. The telescope, expected to be the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States, is being tested and commissioned at a dark-sky site on the Coconino National Forest approximately 45 miles SSE of Flagstaff. The project is being undertaken in partnership with Discovery Communications. Construction and commissioning of the telescope and associated infrastructure will cost approximately $53 million. The telescope will significantly augment Lowell Observatory’s observational capability and enable pioneering studies in a number of important research areas. First light, or first scientific use of the telescope, will take place in 2012.

A view inside the dome at the telescope. (Jonathan Wilkendorf)

The DCT's home near Happy Jack, AZ, 45 miles SSE of Flagstaff. (Padraig Houlahan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is a private, non-profit research institution founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. The Observatory has been the site of many important findings including the discovery of the large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipher in 1912-1914 (a result that led ultimately to the realization the universe is expanding), and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, Lowell’s 20 astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. The Observatory welcomes about 80,000 visitors each year to its Mars Hill campus in Flagstaff, Arizona for a variety of tours, telescope viewing, and special programs. Lowell Observatory currently has four research telescopes at its Anderson Mesa dark-sky site east of Flagstaff, and is building a four-meter class research telescope, the Discovery Channel Telescope.

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