Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:32 AM
15 miles south of Flagstaff, I got a good look at the snow capped San Francisco Peaks (almost 13000 feet) just beyond the town. The mountains looked crisp, promising a fine evening. Moments later and a bit higher, I was amazed to see what looked like a giant lake backed right up to the mountains. Crossed my fingers hoping that Lowell, which is above the town, might also be above the fog. No such luck. The observatory was socked in just as heavily as the town.
Well,I thought, there is always the night sky network. NSN is a website where video observers from around the world (mostly North America) webcast live observing sessions. I often bring up NSN before doing a program. Broadcasts from the east coast begin long before dark in Arizona, so they make a nice warmup act. Well, I guess that weather on the east coast was bad because there were no broadcasts.
Even with a bad sky visitors always get a good show. Vesto Slipher collected the first evidence for the expanding universe at Lowell a hundred years ago. The 24 inch Clark refractor and the spectrometer that he used to collect spectra of a bunch of galaxies are still there along with an excellent collection of artifacts. Slipher took as long as 40 hours, tracking manually, to collect his galaxy spectra.
The telescope, dome, and blink comparator that Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto in 1930 are also still on display. There are also multiple displays and programs.
No complaints. This was my first wipeout at Lowell after almost 4 years of video observing and with big crowds (80,000 visitors a year) it's a wonderful place to do outreach.
Posted 07 December 2013 - 02:41 PM
Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:57 AM
I've done forty something video observing evenings at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
My wife and I toured Lowell in 2004. It was immensely enjoyable. A very pretty setting too. Our tour was conducted by the gal in the pic. The instrument depicted is the astrograph Tombaugh used to take the Pluto plates.
Note the wooden dome!