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Lowell Observatory

This observatory is famous for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto and features many educational activities, historic telescopes and events for visitors.

Visit Lowell Observatory for daytime guided tours and nighttime telescope viewing sessions. Established in the late 19th century, the observatory is one of the oldest in the United States. The facility operates several telescopes, including the Pluto Discovery Telescope, for historical, educational and research purposes.

Start at the Steele Visitor Center on the Lowell Observatory campus. Here you’ll get acquainted with tour options and knowledgeable guides. Lowell’s present research telescopes are located outside Flagstaff; however, the campus still operates as an administration and visitor hub. Venture outward from Steele Visitor Center to find historic telescope domes and other fascinating Lowell Observatory areas.

Take the Pluto Tour to see the Pluto Discovery Telescope. This device was built in the late 1920s for the specific purpose of sighting the hypothetical 9th planet in our solar system. In 1930, observatory assistant Clyde Tombaugh discovered an object in the telescope’s glass negatives. The object was later named Pluto and the discovery marks one of the most important moments in United States astronomical history.

Attend an evening viewing through the Clark Telescope, a 24-inch (61-centimeter) refracting telescope, built in the late 19th century. The telescope, listed as a National Historic Landmark structure, was used to study moons, double planets, comets and other celestial objects. In the 1980s, Clark Telescope’s purpose shifted from research to education, where it has since amazed more than 2 million guests.

Stop at the Rotunda Museum to see some of the observatory’s most precious artifacts, including measuring and calculating devices. The museum contains displays on the Pluto discovery and moon mapping for the Apollo program. Exhibits on the expanding universe discovery and the Lowell family history also feature at the museum.

Lowell Observatory, open daily, is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Use a public parking area next to the Steele Visitor Center. The cost of admission covers both day and evening programs. Reservations are not essential; however, it’s a good idea to check the official Lowell Observatory website for special events, tour times and seasonal programs.

Visit Lowell Observatory to look through state-of-the-art telescopes and learn about the facility’s monumental discoveries.


Guide to Exploring around Lowell Observatory


Lodging Near Lowell Observatory

See all 600 properties near Lowell Observatory
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff

1175 W Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
    3.5 out of 5.0
     
     

    Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1 mi (1.7 km) from Northern Arizona University, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Thorpe Park. Lowell ...

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel FlagstaffAU$176

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff

    2015 S Beulah Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ
      2.5 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Woodlands Village, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 2.8 mi (4.4 km) ...

      La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham FlagstaffAU$125

      Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ

      Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZ

      224 S Mikes Pike, Flagstaff, AZ
        2.0 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Downtown Flagstaff, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.3 mi (2.2 km) ...

        Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Flagstaff Downtown, AZAU$158

        Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

        Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

        300 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
          3.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Southside, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) away. Flagstaff ...

          Drury Inn & Suites FlagstaffAU$192

          Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66

          Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66

          1000 West Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
            2.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Situated in a national park, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.9 mi (3 km) away. ...

            Days Inn by Wyndham Flagstaff - West Route 66AU$86

            Embassy Suites Flagstaff

            Embassy Suites Flagstaff

            706 South Milton Road, Flagstaff, AZ
              3.5 out of 5.0
               
               

              Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riordon Mansion, Heritage Square and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Northern Arizona University ...

              Embassy Suites FlagstaffAU$180

              Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff

              Baymont by Wyndham Flagstaff

              2005 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ
                2.5 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 2.5 mi (4.1 km) ...

                Baymont by Wyndham FlagstaffAU$84

                Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

                Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff

                100 North Humphreys Street, Flagstaff, AZ
                  3.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Downtown Flagstaff, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Flagstaff City Hall and Northern Arizona University. Lowell Observatory is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) ...

                  Residence Inn by Marriott FlagstaffAU$269

                  *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
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