Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility What's New in Phase 3? - Lowell Observatory

What’s New in Phase 3?

It’s official—Lowell Observatory has moved to phase 3 of our phased reopening plan! We would like to thank everyone for their patience, understanding, and support over our cautious and gradual approach to reopening the observatory to the public. Read on to learn about the exciting changes and experiences that phases 3A and 3B will bring to Mars Hill.

Prepare for re-entry! 🚀

General admission with new COVID-19 guest protocols.

General admission is back! General admission tickets can be purchased at the Steele Visitor Center or reserved in advance on our website. Upon your arrival to the observatory, you will be asked to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status in the form of a physical or digital copy/photograph of a CDC-approved vaccination card, or a negative COVID-19 test from a verified testing site.

General Admission gives you all-day access to 127 years of astronomical discovery at Lowell Observatory. Walk in the steps of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto at Lowell in 1930, and marvel at the 125-year-old, 24-inch Clark Refractor, which is still in operation today. At night, discover planets, distant gas clouds and far-off galaxies through the six state-of-the-art telescopes of the Giovale Open Deck Observatory under the famously dark skies of Flagstaff.

Note: Stargazing may not be available during inclement weather. Check Lowell’s WeatherUnderground forecast here.

Ticket Prices

*Members receive free General Admission.

Daily (excluding Tuesdays):

  • Adults (ages 18+): $25
  • AAA/seniors 55+/students/military: $22
  • Children (ages 5-17): $16
  • Children 4 and under: FREE

Tuesdays (close at 5pm):

  • Adults (ages 18+): $18
  • AAA/seniors 55+/students/military: $16
  • Children (ages 5-17): $12
  • Children 4 and under: FREE

Flagstaff and Coconino County locals and their guests

(daily, with ID):

  • Adults (ages 18+): $15
  • Children (ages 5-17): $10
  • Children 4 and under: FREE

Tours, talks, open houses, and stargazing.

Historical Tours

Step into the storied history of Lowell Observatory with a guided historical tour.

Lowell Tour (45 min)—Learn about the founding of Lowell Observatory and its renowned 24” Clark Refractor, which was built in 1896 and is still in use today. You’ll get a close-up look at the telescope that was used to study the Martian surface, find the first evidence of the expanding nature of our universe, and map the Moon for the Apollo missions.

Story of Pluto Tour (45 min)—Explore the observatory’s multiple searches for “Planet X”, the resulting discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, and the ongoing debate about its planetary status. You’ll visit the Pluto Discovery Telescope, which was used to image the star fields that contained Pluto, and the blink comparator that Tombaugh used to identify it.

*Due to the small size of the Pluto Dome, this tour is limited to 30 people.

Science Talks

Discover something new with an evening science talk in the Giclas Lecture Hall.

The Search for Life on Mars (20 min)—Evidence of past (and present) water on Mars guides us toward answering one of humanity’s great questions: “Are we alone?”

Colors of the Cosmos (20 min)—What can blue fire tell us about the nature of the universe? Watch as our educators reveal secrets of the cosmos by playing with light, rainbows, and fire in a series of family-friendly experiments.

The Secret Life of Stars (20 min)—So what exactly is star-stuff? Explore the origins of life on Earth through the lens of the life of a star, from birth to extinction, featuring the astrophotography of Lowell Observatory.

The Dark Universe (20 min)—Explore some of the most mysterious subjects in astronomy: dark matter and dark energy. Together, they make up the vast majority of our universe, yet their nature still eludes astronomers.

Open Houses

Many of our facilities are open to guests during Open House periods throughout the day and night.

The 24-inch Clark Refractor celebrates its 125th year in 2021. Learn how it was used to find the first evidence of the expanding nature of our universe and map the Moon for the Apollo missions. When weather permits, the Clark Refractor is open for public stargazing.

At the Pluto Discovery Telescope, learn the story of Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto at Lowell Observatory in 1930.

Continue the story of Pluto’s discovery with a stop at the blink comparator in the Rotunda Museum. Here, you can also explore distant worlds using our OmniGlobe.

The Putnam Collection Center offers seasonal rotating exhibits, currently Lowell’s Lunar Legacy (highlighting Moon-mapping and astronaut training) and the Carl O. Lampland Diaries.

During the daytime, see the six telescopes of the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, and safely observe the Sun with a solar telescope. The “GODO” is also open at night for stargazing.


See the wonders of the universe with your own eyes! Planets, star clusters, and galaxies are all within your grasp with these stargazing opportunities:

At the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, see prominences and sunspots on our nearest star—the Sun. Our solar telescopes are equipped with premium solar filters for safe observation of the Sun.

At night, the Giovale Open Deck Observatory offers six advanced telescopes for observing, including a 32-inch reflector, one of the largest available for public observing in Arizona.

When weather conditions permit, the historic Clark Refractor is available for viewing seasonal celestial objects. Wind, humidity, and temperature thresholds may prevent the Clark from opening.

Constellation Tours (20 min)—Enjoy a laser-guided tour under the night sky, featuring the stories and mythology of its prominent stars and constellations that are visible at the time of your visit. 

*During inclement weather, this tour takes place indoors using a simulated sky.

Premium Access to the 24” Dyer Telescope

You can continue to get star treatment with an exclusive, Premium Access viewing session at the 24″ Dyer Telescope! Designed for small groups of 10 individuals, these private personalized expeditions across the stars offer exclusive opportunities to view the cosmos with the help of our experienced and passionate Lowell educators.

Book here!