Restoration of the 24-inch Clark Refractor at Lowell Observatory.

The 24 inch after restoration. Image courtesy Sarah Conant (Lowell Observatory).

The 24 inch after restoration. Image courtesy:Sarah Conant (Lowell Observatory).















Recently, the staff at Lowell Observatory secured enough funding to refurbish the historic 24 inch Clark refractor, the very instrument used by Percival Lowell to explore the planet Mars. Tune into Astronomy Now and this website soon for the full story…….


De Fideli

6 thoughts on “Restoration of the 24-inch Clark Refractor at Lowell Observatory.

  1. Long ago, I was invited to the very old observatory of a gentleman astronomer somewhere up in Michigan. This observatory housed a seven inch refractor. All I remember from the experience was looking at the moon and the beautiful contrast of the view, estimating the magnitude of SS Cygni, and having a feeling of awe; quite like a spiritual experience of awe, a mysterium tremendum type feeling.

    I suspect, an evening spent with the likes of the folk who share on this site, at the 24 inch Lowell refractor; would generate the same feelings. What an experience that would be.


  2. Hello Otto,

    People leave their mark on the landscape.

    Some say the spirit of ole Percy still haunts the observatory on Mars Hill.



  3. Hi Otto and Neil,

    I have had the privilege of observing Saturn with the 24″ at Lowell and quite frankly I cannot find an adjective that would adequately describe what I saw. Add to that the gestalt of that old observatory and Neil’s wonderful comment that Percy’s spirit still haunts ( I may prefer “roams”) the grounds especially near his Mausoleum (with its transparent dome so he can always watch the stars) and you indeed have that experience.
    I don’t know why it is but every time I enter my humble observatory the same kinds of feelings that Otto describes cause me to speak more softly and prepare for my observing run with a more gentle pace, it is my Sanctum Sanctorum and even after all these years the magic and awe are still there.



  4. Hello Ray & Otto,

    Just the other evening, on Monday, August 17, I fielded my 5″ f/12 achromat. The tripod was extended, the tall pier attached and the counter weights carefully set in place. With a small step ladder, I coupled the telescope to the mount, and ran in to get a comfortable observing chair. Charging the instrument with a power of 382x, I moved the telescope across a hazy but tranquil sky, and examined the images of a dozen or so seasonal double stars. Each one looked magnificent in the telescope, textbook perfect Airy disks and hardly a quiver from any of them!
    I don’t have an observatory, but I do know what you mean about how these telescopes make you feel. I was all alone, everyone else snug in their beds, but I felt a great peace come over me, as I moved the telescope on from one target to another. There is indeed a spiritual dimension to observing and nothing on God’s Earth can evince those feelings in me as much as my beloved 5 inch.



  5. Hello Neil and Otto,

    Otto, I must indeed cheer my friend Neil.
    There is something absolutely impossible to describe about sitting *under* a long telescope. I have owned Newtonians, Cassegrains and Maksutov’s (still own a Meade ETX-90) but nothing I have ever owned produces such contentment and joy as sitting under my beautiful Holland. So Neil, here is to our “Long Eyes” may they never cease to bring us joy.

    Ad Astra.

  6. Many of us enjoy a trip to the ocean. For hours, one can gaze at the ocean, and listen to the surf.

    Someone, I forget whom, wrote to me saying that whenever we step into our backyards and gaze at the night sky, we are actually at the shoreline of the universe.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *