Spring Trips to Lowell Observatory
Get the most out of your seasonal visit.
Spring into an Otherworldly Adventure
Spring at Lowell Observatory
Those looking to add an astronomical element to their spring itinerary should look no further than the top of Mars Hill.
Keep this page on your radar for the latest on enjoying your visit to Lowell Observatory during the spring season!
What to Wear
Not sure how to dress for the weather? Follow these tips to dress for success during your visit!
Though spring in Flagstaff brings warmer temperatures, it gets pretty windy here in our mountain town. Wind chill can make temperatures feel much colder than they are and get through even the warmest jackets, so important to have extra layers on hand!
If you want to get the most out of your visit by going on tours of our historic campus and enjoying evening stargazing, you should be prepared to do some walking! The walking paths on our campus can get fairly steep in some areas, and tours require a lot of walking and standing. If you need a break, there are benches placed throughout our campus. They’re also a great place to sit and take in the scenery!
The Greater Bear
Ursa Major is a constellation in the northern sky, whose associated mythology likely dates back into prehistory. Its Latin name means “greater bear,” referring to and contrasting it with nearby Ursa Minor, the lesser bear.
Ursa Major is always above the horizon in the northern latitudes, but the best time to see it is in the spring when its high above the northeastern horizon. To find it in the sky, just look for the Big Dipper — it makes up part of the bear’s body!
Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac, between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east. It’s located in the Northern celestial hemisphere.
To find Leo in the night sky, look for the bright star Regulus, which will be directly above. Once you locate the star, trace out a distinctive pattern of stars shaped like a backwards question mark, known as The Sickle. This pattern represents the Lion’s mane.
Boötes (pronounced boh-OH-teez) contains the fourth-brightest star in the night sky, the orange giant Arcturus. Epsilon Boötis, or Izar, is a colorful multiple star popular with amateur astronomers. Boötes is home to many other bright stars, including eight above the fourth magnitude and an additional 21 above the fifth magnitude, making a total of 29 stars easily visible to the unaided eye.
To find Boötes, look for the Big Dipper constellation in the north. Follow the arc made by the Dipper’s handle until you see a bright star. This is Arcturus, which is located in what would be the waist of Boötes.
The shape of Hydra resembles a twisting snake, and features as such in some Greek myths. One myth associates it with a water snake that a crow served Apollo in a cup when it was sent to fetch water; Apollo saw through the fraud, and angrily cast the crow, cup, and snake, into the sky. It is also associated with the monster Hydra, with its many heads, killed by Hercules, represented in another constellation.
To find Hydra, draw an imaginary line from Betelgeuse to Procyon and keep going. You will reach a bright star called Regulus, in the constellation Leo. Hydra’s head lies around halfway from Procyon to Regulus. Join head and tail and you should see a trail of stars making up Hydra.
Ophiuchus (pronounced OFF-ee-YOO-kuss) is a large constellation straddling the celestial equator. Its name comes from the Ancient Greek word for “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping a snake. The serpent is represented by the constellation Serpens.
The key to finding Ophiuchus is being able to identify Scorpius. Scorpius is a fairly easy constellation to point out because of its distinctive hook-like shape. The ‘head’ of Ophiuchus is also located near the head of Hercules, so use that constellation to help guide your way.