Pre 1900

Percival Lowell


From 1888 onwards, inspired by Camille Flammarion, Percival started study on Mars. He quickly came to believe that Mars was supporting life. He began sketching patterns on Mars with two borrowed telescopes and in 1894 Lowell publically announced there were canals on Mars. Other astronomers were more realistic and concluded these were optical illusions. But the search for life on Mars wet on to today where scientists are still trying to find life on the 'Red Planet'.

The Lowell Observatory

The Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in America. It was built in 1894. It is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. The observatory was eventually home to a 24-inch refractor made by Alvan Clark.


Lowell predicted that there was a nineth planet in our solar system. This planet (planet X) wasn't located by him at all because of his death in 1916. The staff of his observatory continued the search and finally in 1930 Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in the Lowell Observatory. Although now, due to more recent studies it turns out Pluto is too small to be planet X.


Although Lowell was wrong about Pluto and Mars. His observatory is world famous and is still used today. He also widened the imagination of the public; without him there may not even be talk of life on Mars