Percival Lowell ( born March 13, 1855 in Boston, † November 12, 1916 in Flagstaff ) was an American astronomer. He started as an amateur researcher, but was one of the most famous astronomers of his time and the founder of the Lowell Observatory.
He came from one of the richest and most respected patrician families of Boston. His sister Amy Lowell took it as a poet, his brother Abbott Lawrence Lowell as President of Harvard University fame. Abbott Lawrence Rotch His cousin founded the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory Boston and led the Weather dragon in the Aerology.
Lowell always been present interest in astronomy increased by the planetary observations of Giovanni Schiaparelli, in particular by the discovery of the " canals of Mars " at the favorable opposition of the year 1877. Triggered by seasonal discoloration on Mars arose because in Lowell and Camille Flammarion the notion the " Canali " might be artificially constructed canals to irrigate the desiccating Red Planet.
This opinion met the already then open for each sensation mass media, and there was the " Martians " - mania and a series of science fiction literature. Only by the space probes of the 1960s, the Canali were refuted as a real structure, but can be explained partly as a visual line gain of patio edges and light edges, craters or canyons rows as the Valles Marineris.
Soon made Lowell from his hobby a serious and successful science. To promote the Planetary Science, the wealthy amateur astronomer Lowell founded in 1894, the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. He succeeded in excellent professionals (eg BAE Douglass ) to win for his well-equipped institution.
There has been extensive studies of Mars, Venus and other planets, and the Milky Way have been performed. 1930 there the long classified as a planet Pluto was discovered and received - for two reasons - the abbreviation " PL". To date, the Institute has an excellent reputation and is dedicated to present the asteroid research.