Historic Buildings and Telescopes

Percival Lowell founded Lowell Observatory in 1894 for the primary purpose of studying Mars. In 1895, he commissioned Alvan Clark & Sons to build a 24-inch refracting telescope. Although the Clark Telescope was Lowell’s primary piece of equipment, the observatory continued to build telescopes and instrumentation that helped solidify its place as a pioneer in the field of astronomy. Astronomers have used the various equipment on Lowell Observatory’s Mars Hill campus to discover Pluto; identify the redshifts of galaxies; map the Moon for the Apollo missions; observe comets and asteroids; study solar variation; and take thousands of photographs of stars, planets, and nebulae. The original landscape of Lowell Observatory’s campus has evolved over the past 125 years and continues to do so, reflecting both its history and future as a center of research and education.