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Mars Hill Quick Report: July 18-24

Mars Hill Quick Report: July 18-24

Welcome back to the Mars Hill Quick Report, a bite-sized weekly news update from Lowell Observatory! Each week, we’ll give you the short version of upcoming events at Lowell and beyond, plus a little dash of history.


☆ Tuesday, July 19

New Star Stuff episode: Astronomy and Poetry

The Star Stuff crew geeks out with poet Julie Swarstad Johnson, who recently served as Lowell Observatory’s poet-in-residence. Tune in to hear them discuss Julie’s work, how astronomy inspires her poetry, the works she has completed, and her recent publication, Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight.

About Julie: Julie Swarstad Johnson is a poet and writer who lives in Tucson, Arizona. She is the author of Pennsylvania Furnace, as well as the chapbook Jumping the Pit. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Penn State and has served as Artist in Residence at Gettysburg National Military Park, and is currently serving as Poet in Residence at Lowell Observatory here in Flagstaff. She is the co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight with author Christopher Cokinos. She works at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

You can listen to Star Stuff on all major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher!


☆ Wednesday, July 20

Astronomy on Tap: Lowell Observatory visits Seattle!

We’ve got a special Astronomy on Tap livestream this month with Astronomy on Tap Seattle! They will be featuring scientists from Lowell Observatory at Bickersons Brewhouse in Seattle, Washington!

First, Dr. Jeff Hall will talk about Pluto’s discovery, what’s been going on since then, and its tie to the Lowell Observatory. Then, Dr. Moskovitz will discuss NASA’s DART spacecraft’s plan to crash into an asteroid, on purpose.

Tune in on Wednesday, July 20th at 8pm listen to these exciting presentations and have fun with our friends in Seattle!


Astronomy on Tap: Lowell Observatory visits Seattle!


☆ Thursday, July 21

NIGHTCAP Art Social: Evenings at Coconino Center for the Arts | Featuring Lowell Observatory

Coconino Center for the Arts (CCA) is open for a twilight viewing experience 6-9 pm on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month during the exhibition NightVisions: Cultural Interpretations of the Night Sky. Evening hours enable viewing of the exterior video installation SKYGLOWPROJECT at dusk, and an intimate exhibition experience in the gallery.

Lowell Observatory will be at the NIGHTCAP Art Social on July 21, 2022, along with representatives from the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition (FDSC). Join us for an evening of art, telescope viewing, and light refreshments under the stars! There will be a Q&A session, artist presentation, stargazing, refreshments, and gallery viewing open exclusively to members of Lowell Observatory, CCA, and FDSC.

  • $10 suggested donation.
  • Refreshments available for purchase.

The LDT, shot for the SKYGLOW project | Harun Mehmedinovic

This Week in History

☆ July 23, 1896

First light for Lowell Observatory’s 24″ Clark Refractor

In 1995, Lowell began making arrangements with the Alvan Clark & Sons Firm of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts to build a state-of-the-art 24-inch refracting telescope. They had built telescopes for Lowell before, but this one was to be the biggest and most powerful one yet. Lowell also tasked Flagstaff bicycle repairmen Stanley and Godfrey Sykes, who claimed to be “competent makers and menders of anything,” with building the telescope’s dome. The telescope itself was completed the following year and dubbed the Clark Telescope, in honor of its builders.

It saw first light, meaning that it was used to view the cosmos for the very first time, on the evening of July 23, 1896. The most notable object to be viewed that night was planet Mars, which would continue to be the subject of Lowell’s intensive and controversial studies. Thus, the legacy of Lowell Observatory’s oldest and and most storied telescope began. The future would bring status not only as a piece of astronomical history, but a vital role in capturing the imaginations of the public and popularizing the idea of space research and exploration.

Percival Lowell sits looking through the viewfinder of the Clark Telescope. | Lowell Observatory Archives


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