Encyclopedia > Percival Lowell

  Article Content

Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell (March 13, 1855 - November 13, 1916) was a wealthy amateur astronomer who was convinced that there were canals on Mars, and was the founder of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Percival Lowell came from a distinguished Boston family. In addition to his own accomplishments his younger brother Abbot[?] was president of Harvard University, and his sister Amy was a well-known imagist poet and critic.

Percival Lowell graduated from Harvard in 1876 with distinction in mathematics, and traveled extensively through the far east before deciding to study Mars and astronomy as a full time career. He was particularly interested in "canals" of Mars, as drawn by Giovanni Schiaparelli, who was director of the Milan Observatory and an esteemed Italian astronomer.

In 1894 he moved to Flagstaff, Arizona. At an altitude of over 7000 feet, and with few cloudy nights, it was an excellent site for astronomical observations. For the next fifteen years he studied Mars extensively, and drew intricate drawing of the surface markings as he perceived them. Lowell published his views in three books: Mars (1895), Mars and Its Canals (1906), and Mars As the Abode of Life (1908).

Lowell's greatest contribution to planetary studies came during the last 8 years of his life, which he devoted to the search for Planet X, which was the designation for a planet beyond Neptune. The search continued for a number of years after his death at Flagstaff in 1916; the new planet, named Pluto, was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930.

External Links

e-texts of some of Percival Lowell's works: see also:



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
East Marion, New York

... under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 20.6% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 30.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 49 years. For every 100 ...

 
 
 
This page was created in 27.2 ms