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Lowell’s flagship instrument is the 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope.

dct1Forty miles southeast of Flagstaff at Happy Jack AZ, the Discovery Channel Telescope rises seven stories above its foundation. Lowell Observatory owns and operates the telescope, and has formed scientific partnerships for access to DCT with Boston University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo, and Northern Arizona University.

Why the “Discovery Channel Telescope?”

The DCT project got underway in 2003, when Discovery founder and former CEO John Hendricks proposed what would become a $16,000,000 gift to Lowell Observatory from his foundation and from Discovery Communications.  In return, Discovery received naming rights to the telescope and first right of refusal to use images from the telescope in their online and broadcast educational programming.

Otherwise, the DCT functions as does any other major research telescope: astronomers carry out whatever observations they wish and then analyze and publish the results in the professional literature.  Lowell’s partnership with Discovery is mutually beneficial for outreach and has no effect on the research usage of the facility.

The DCT is fully operational

We declared the DCT fully operational as of January 1, 2015, signifying the end of a 2.5-year period of commissioning, during which we mixed science observations with extensive testing and debugging of the telescope’s many systems.  In 2015, we expect to offer 300 science nights to Lowell astronomers and to our partners.

Take a tour of the DCT

Use the links below to take an online tour of our wonderful new telescope.

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