From the study of Mars to the prediction of Pluto to the building of the observatory that bears his name, Percival Lowell enthusiastically dove headlong into the study of astronomy. Let's learn more about the cultured businessman whose sudden attraction to the red planet led him into a love affair with the worlds beyond our own.

Early life

Percival Lawrence Lowell was born on March 13, 1855, to a prominent, wealthy Bostonian family. Son of Augustus and Katherine Bigelow Lowell, young Percival attended Harvard University and graduated in 1876 with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. At his graduation, he gave a speech on the formation of the solar system that indicated his early interest in astronomy. (His brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, later became president of


Lowell became determined to study Mars as a full career.

He studied mars for 15 years, he made three interesting books named;m: mars (1895), mars and its canals (1906), and Mars as the abode of life.He also made a few pictures of viunus's maps.

planet X

percival Lowell was born into an aristocratic Boston family, studied mathematics at Harvard, and made a fortune in business. After traveling for ten years to the Far East as a travel writer and serving as a foreign secretary, he settled down to the serious pursuit of astronomy.

Lowell had become interested in studying what he thought were artificial canals on Mars, and in 1894 established the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Mars wasn't the only planet that interested him, and in 1905, he began a search for the ninth planet.

Besides being able to apply his mathematical skills, Lowell had his own observatory at his disposal, something John Couch Adams had lacked when he predicted Neptune's position. Lowell's staff conducted a photographic survey of the sky, with Lowell's calculations thrown in to help narrow the search.

Lowell initially kept his search a secret, so that others might not steal his project. However, when the extreme difficulties of finding a planet became evident, Lowell was no longer worried about an opportunistic astronomer taking the glory, and by 1908 was publicly calling his elusive quarry "Planet X."

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