The scientific tourist #24 — Lowell's globes

This week’s “sciencey” image comes from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. As I mentioned in the last podcast episode, Percival Lowell was engrossed by reports of Schiaparelli’s observations of Mars. Being a man of some means, Lowell dropped his business pursuits and devoted the last 23 years of his life to astronomy — in no small part, to the telescopic study of the surface of Mars.

At the end of a year’s observations of the planet, Lowell transfered his notes for the year to a small globe, in pencil. On the top shelf in this photo, you can see Lowell’s globes for 1898, 1903, and 1905 (from left to right).

Lowell's Globes

While Lowell’s theories of Mars have long since been discredited, it’s still more than a little awe-inspiring to be able to be just a pane of glass away from a triad of artifacts with so much history behind them…

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