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Clark Telescope: Help save an Arizona science-fiction institution

Posted by on March 29, 2013 – 11:21 am

“Restore The Clark” Campaign Launch Video from Lowell Observatory on Vimeo.

Clark TelescopeAre you a zealous steampunk fan? Do you have a hankering for H.G. Wells? Are you enchanted by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian hero John Carter? What if I told you that all of these genre giants were inspired by a scientist from right here in Arizona? It’s true!

In 1895, Percival Lowell commissioned the Alvan Clark & Sons firm of Cambridgeport, Mass., to build what has become known as the Clark Telescope, located at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff; and it was Lowell’s theories about life on Mars, based on his observations using the Clark Telescope, that inspired some of the greatest science fiction writers of all time.

As you might imagine, the 117-year-old telescope is now in need of some serious renovations and the nonprofit Lowell Observatory has recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for this much-needed restoration. You can learn more about the effort and how to get involved at www.indiegogo.com/projects/restore-the-clark. This is a great opportunity to help preserve our state’s rich scientific and science-fiction heritage.

Attention steampunk associations: A $1,000 donation gets a group of 20 a 90-minute viewing session with the refurbished telescope. Your pooled resources could equal an awesome steampunk road-trip and an evening with the Victorian-era telescope that inspired H.G. Wells.