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  1. #1
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    Default Lowell Observatory visit



    This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I thought it my duty to report on my visit to the members of this forum. A full report would take way to long to write (or read) so I'll just hit the highlights.

    The tour started in the Clark dome where the telescope that Percival Lowell used to make his Mars observations. I didn't get the apeture but the focal length is 32 FEET!!!! and the entire set up weighs 13,000 lbs. Now it uses a standard 2" focuser from the looks of it and, much to my amazement, a Telrad along with 5 finderscopes. Lowell's Observing platform is still there and in use. They use a high tech wooden kitchen chair as a seat. After we finished there we moved on to the musuem that housed several artifacts from Lowell and Tombaugh (see photos). From here we moved on to the dome that still houses the 13" refractor that Tombaugh used to discover Pluto. It is motorized only in the RA axis and is unguided.

    This observatory compound is an active research facility with several projects ongoing. I would recommend visiting the Lowell observatory if you are ever in Flagstaff as it is easy to find and the staff knowledgeble. They also offer public viewing with several different modern telescopes and occasionally Lowell's Mars scope. Unfortunately for me as it was cloudy and a bit too cold for my taste to participate.
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  2. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to neal_mlc For This Useful Post:

    DaltonSkyGazer (11-09-2011),deaman49 (11-10-2011),EJMaine (11-09-2011),jes29651 (11-07-2011),Talitha (11-08-2011),Tombstone17 (11-08-2011),xphile (11-08-2011)

  3. #2
    neal_mlc's Avatar
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    Photos left to right, top to bottom, Camera ( 3 ft long), The finderscopes, telrad and focuser, Spectrograph, Observing platform, Lowell's notebook and sketches, Top of the Mars scope, Bottom of the Mars scope, Blink camparator, Pluto Scope.
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  4. #3
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    Default

    What a great visit to a piece of history. And that is a lot of finderscopes! haha Thanks for the report.
    Dave

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    Default

    Great report. I just took a close look at this facility a few days ago using Google Maps Streetview. Would love the chance to visit in person someday.

    Tom

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    Very cool! Thanks for the report!
    Dirk
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    Default

    Thanks for sharing your visit with us!!

    What an incredible experience to walk the same floors they did, and to see the scopes that made history. I'd love to go there someday but i bet they wouldn't let me flip through Lowell's notebooks and sketches. One question... exactly how large are the dome's wheels? They look like car tires in the picture.

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    I finally made it back to the thread. Thanks so much for the tour and pics, like above .That is so cool......
    Enjoy the Black cause they can't take it back............
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Talitha View Post
    Thanks for sharing your visit with us!!

    What an incredible experience to walk the same floors they did, and to see the scopes that made history. I'd love to go there someday but i bet they wouldn't let me flip through Lowell's notebooks and sketches. One question... exactly how large are the dome's wheels? They look like car tires in the picture.
    Yep. they are car tires although I don't know the size. A little history for the dome, it started off with 12" iron casters with the movement of the dome done manually with a "strong" man. Then they used a salt water/pontoon system which was a dismal failure lasting all of 2 days and you can still see the water stains on the walls. After this they moved to a more modern system that we see today.
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    Default

    Thanks for the pic's! That's really a piece of History. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.
    Lee

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