Atop a mesa one mile west of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, sits Lowell Observatory, an astronomical research facility steeped in tradition. Percival Lowell, scion of a Boston Brahmin family, initially established his observatory in 1894 to study the possibility of intelligent life on Mars. Lowell widely popularized his controversial theories, sparking debate among both the scientific community and lay public. In the following years, the observatory's astronomers made several discoveries that dramatically altered our understanding of space, including Clyde Tombaugh's discovery of Pluto in 1930 and V.M. Slipher's detection of the expanding nature of the universe in 1912. Decades later, Apollo astronauts visited as part of their training to fly to the moon. These stories and others offer a glimpse of the scientific discovery, community pride, and personal triumph that define Lowell Observatory.
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