Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO)

Stargazing, Reimagined

The Giovale Open Deck Observatory at Lowell Observatory features one of the finest collections of telescopes available for public observing.

 

This public observing plaza features six advanced telescopes that collectively give you a viewing experience that goes far beyond seeing faint smudges of light. From rich star fields and planets full of color, to nebulae and galaxies that reveal obvious structure, the famously dark skies of Flagstaff are abundant in celestial treasures for you to discover.

The Giovale Open Deck Observatory also features daytime exhibits that highlight the science of spectroscopy, the types of telescopes astronomers use and how to preserve dark skies in Arizona and beyond. A set of six plinths along the perimeter of the observing plaza align to the locations of the sun during sunrise and sunset on the equinoxes and solstices.

Named for longtime Lowell Observatory philanthropists John and Ginger Giovale, the Giovale Open Deck Observatory will leave you feeling more connected to the night sky and all the wonders that it holds.

Covid-19 Safety Precautions

Increased cleaning and sanitizing

Temperature and health screening

Social distancing of at least 6ft

Face masks are required

Wash or sanitize your hands often

Phase 2A

Socially-distanced guided tours and family adventures, offered on a limited basis, with mixed groups of 10 or less.

Meet the GODO Telescopes

5.5” TEC Wide-Field Refractor

The 5.5-inch TEC Wide-Field Refractor gives guests stunning wide-field views of rich star fields and celestial objects that are too large to fit in the field of view of most telescopes.

The 3-degree field of view at low power allows guests to see the entirety of objects like the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Lagoon Nebula (M8), the Pleiades star cluster (M45) and the full Moon.

This telescope uses an oil-spaced triplet lens system (called an apochromat) with one element made of extra-low dispersion calcium fluoride crystal, which together eliminates the color fringes found in other refractor designs. When needed, the telescope can use high magnifications to allow detailed views of the planets and other smaller objects like globular clusters and planetary nebulae. 

The telescope is mounted on an articulating pier, which allows the height to be easily and quickly adjusted to allow comfortable viewing for all guests.

 

Specs

8” Moonraker Victorian Refractor

This refractor is a stunning sight by day and a treat to look through at night. A blend of Victorian styling and modern technology, this 10-foot-long, red and chrome Steampunk telescope echoes our 1896 24” Clark Refractor while looking to the future.

Like the Clark, our Moonraker uses a superb two-lens design that results in outstanding views of celestial objects under high power. Planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn show wonderful detail and color. Distant globular star clusters are resolved to their cores, giving them a three-dimensional effect. True to its name, the Moonraker is also an ideal instrument for observing the Moon and the structure of its craters, which appear in beautiful relief.

The telescope is mounted on an articulating pier, which allows the height to be easily and quickly adjusted to allow comfortable viewing for all guests.

 

Specs

32” Starstructure Dobsonian Reflector

The largest telescope on Mars Hill, this gargantuan 32-inch-diameter mirror gathers almost twice the amount of light as the  24-inch lens system of our 1896 Clark Refractor. The quartz mirror keeps its precise shape no matter how low the temperature drops at night.

The large light-grasp of this telescope makes deep sky objects (galaxies, nebulae and star clusters) appear very bright and reveals a high degree of structural detail in them. You can clearly see the wispy clouds of gas and dust that make up the Swan Nebula (M17) , the bright, structured smoke ring of the Ring Nebula (M57), and the two spiral arms of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), one of which is interacting with a nearby companion.

This telescope rests directly on a vibration isolated pad on the observatory’s deck.

 

Specs

  • Telescope manufactured by: Starstructure Telescopes
  • Mirror manufactured by: Lockwood Custom Optics
  • Model: Horizon-series reflector design on Dobsonian mount
  • Mirror: Quartz parabolic mirror
  • Aperture: 812 mm (32 in)
  • Focal Length: 2436 mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/3

16” Meade ACF Catadioptric Reflector

This is a workhorse telescope that shows crisp views of everything from planets and star clusters to nebulae and galaxies. Its catadioptric (lens and mirror) optical path uses two mirrors and a corrector lens to fold the light path inside the telescope. This particular design corrects errors at the edge of the field of view, so that every star looks sharp.

The long focal length offers the narrowest field of view of any of the telescopes of the Giovale Open Deck Observatory. When combined with higher magnification, it produces wonderful views of smaller objects like planetary nebulae, smaller star clusters and double stars, and it can show great detail on planets like Jupiter and Saturn. 

The telescope is mounted on an articulating pier, which allows the height to be easily and quickly adjusted to allow comfortable viewing for all guests.

 

Specs

17” PlaneWave Corrected Dall-Kirkham Reflector

Equipped with a Shelyak spectroscope that can show real-time spectra from a variety of objects in space, this telescope allows a glimpse of how astronomers can do their research.

The PlaneWave CDK Reflector uses two mirrors to fold the light path inside the telescope, plus a lens system to eliminate any aberrations. This results in a telescope that is especially well-suited for astrophotography and instrumented observation.

The Shelyak spectroscope mounted on the telescope is connected to a video monitor in order to show the frequencies of light that are emitted from a celestial object. This information reveals the compositions of stars, nebulae and galaxies, as well as how fast they are moving away from or toward us here on Earth. This is a core type of information that many astronomers collect as they conduct their research.

 

Specs

14” PlaneWave Corrected Dall-Kirkham Reflector

Equipped with a MallinCam SkyRaider color video camera, this telescope shows detailed images of deep sky objects in real time.

The PlaneWave CDK Reflector uses two mirrors to fold the light path inside the telescope, plus a lens system to eliminate any aberrations. This results in a telescope that is especially well-suited for astrophotography and instrumented observation.

The MallinCam SkyRaider color video camera mounted on the telescope is connected to a video monitor in order to show live, time-integrated images of celestial objects that are otherwise difficult to see when looking through a telescope directly. The MallinCam rapidly stacks multiple images to show fainter objects with more color than the human eye can see, further expanding our guests’ experience at the Giovale Open Deck Observatory.

 

Specs

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