Lowell Observatory is an independent, non-profit research institution founded in 1894 by Boston mathematician Percival Lowell.



The mission of Lowell Observatory is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public.


Lowell Observatory will be a place where people are happy and proud to work, and one where outsiders are complimentary and respectful of its staff and volunteers and their accomplishments.


We were established in 1894 by Percival Lowell atop a mesa overlooking downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, where we maintain a steadily growing physical plant.

In 1960, we established a dark-sky research site at Anderson Mesa, 10 miles southeast of Flagstaff. Today our 180-acre use permit area on the Coconino National Forest hosts several telescopes and the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer.

In 1994, in celebration of our centennial, we opened the Steele Visitor Center; as of 2015, well over a million people have passed through its doors. Some 80,000 visitors each year enjoy our tours, telescope viewing, exhibits, multimedia shows, and more. Percival Lowell inspired millions with his tireless advocacy of astronomy in the public eye, and we continue this commitment today.

In 2012, we embarked on our greatest adventure yet with the completion of the 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). This new facility, in full science operations as of 2015, vastly expands the breadth of our research capabilities for our astronomers and those of our institutional partners. Even more exciting, our partnership with Discovery Communications provides an avenue to bring our results and breathtaking images to hundreds of millions worldwide.

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