Lowell Observatory getting open-deck facility for viewing

The expansion plans of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff have it close to opening a new open-deck observatory, a movable-roof facility featuring six telescopes for use both by researchers and the public.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports that the open-deck observatory is getting its finishing touches in preparation for an Oct. 5 grand opening.

Its six telescopes include one designed for viewing galaxies and star clusters to another intended for studying the details of the much nearer -- at least in astronomical terms -- moon and planets in our solar system.

Perched on forested Mars Hill overlooking downtown Flagstaff, Lowell is where astronomer Clyde Tombaugh spotted Pluto, then known as Planet X, in 1930.

The private observatory was founded by Percival Lowell in 1894.

Architect's rendering of the astronomy Discovery Center at Lowell Observatory. (Photo: Lowell Observatory)