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Lowell’s flagship instrument is the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope.


Forty miles southeast of Flagstaff at Happy Jack AZ, the Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT), formerly known as the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT), rises seven stories above its foundation. Lowell Observatory owns and operates the telescope, and has formed scientific partnerships for access with Boston University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo, Northern Arizona University, and Yale University.

Why was it the “Discovery Channel Telescope?”

Lowell Observatory had been considering a next generation 4-meter class telescope for a number of years and had done some of the preliminary design work. The project received a significant boost in 2003, when Discovery founder and former CEO John Hendricks proposed what would become a $16M gift to Lowell Observatory from his foundation and from Discovery Communications.  In return, Discovery received naming rights to the telescope and first right of refusal to use images from the telescope in their online and broadcast educational programming.

The telescope name was changed in 2020 to Lowell Discovery Telescope by mutual agreement of Lowell and Discovery Communications.

Otherwise, the LDT functions as does any other major research telescope: astronomers carry out whatever observations they wish and then analyze and publish the results in the professional literature. Lowell’s partnership with Discovery is mutually beneficial for outreach and has no effect on the research usage of the facility.

LDT General Information

  1. LDT Important Notes  [Don’t drink, don’t bring computer viruses, etc.]
  2. LDT Scientific and Technical Publications
  3. Old Updates