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Pluto flyby one year later

July 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto, and Lowell Observatory is celebrating with an assortment of special activities that day.  These include something for every member of the family, with hands-on demonstrations, programs, tours, and more.

Kids will have the opportunity to not only explore the observatory but also earn discounts in Lowell’s Starry Skies Gift Shop as they complete scavenger hunts.  They can also enjoy spellbinding science demonstrations that explore extreme temperatures, pressures, and other conditions in space.  Both of these activities will run throughout the day.

The Pluto Telescope dome, where Clyde Tombaugh kicked off the Pluto furor with his discovery of this icy world in 1930, will be open for extended tours.  Guests will learn about Tombaugh’s era-defining work and can take their picture with the only telescope in America used to discover a planet in our solar system.

In the evening, Lowell experts will share the observatory’s exciting and unprecedented Pluto heritage.  At 7 p.m., Lowell historian Kevin Schindler will share the human and scientific drama of the observatory’s quarter-century search that culminated with Tombaugh’s discovery.  He’ll also discuss how Pluto got its name and highlight some of the important Pluto research by later Flagstaff researchers.

Directly following Schindler’s program, Lowell planetary scientist Dr. Will Grundy will share the latest news from the New Horizons mission.  Grundy is the leader of the mission’s surface composition team, playing a lead role in collecting and analyzing the stunning pictures and other data that has revolutionized out understanding of Pluto.  Grundy will give a firsthand account of New Horizons and talk about not only what he and his colleagues have discovered so far, but also the future of the mission.

As a topper to all these events, all guests will be eligible to enter a free raffle and win limited-edition Pluto t-shirts.

Lowell will be open on the 14th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and regular admission rates apply.