Lowell Observatory Adds Six New Telescopes For Visitors

Oct 4, 2019

Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory will host a free open house tomorrow for its new plaza with six advanced telescopes. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, it’s part of an expansion planned through 2023.

The Giovale Open Deck Observatory in its daytime (closed) position. It rolls off at night to give six new telescopes access to the sky.
Credit Melissa Sevigny

The Giovale Open Deck Observatory includes exhibits and viewing ports that align with sunrises and sunsets on the solstice and equinox.

Six telescopes are sheltered beneath a building that rolls back on tracks at night so visitors can view planets and deep-sky objects. Dave Sawyer, the project manager, says, "Having them out on this open plaza just gives you the whole experience of the big sky, and you’re not looking out through a little hole in a roof, you’re able to stand there and look out and see the horizon."

It’s the first stage of a master plan that includes a $29 million dollar Astronomy Discovery Center. The expansion is expected to double or triple visitation to Lowell. It’s funded by private donations.