Lowell Observatory Virtual Tour

Welcome to the Lowell Observatory virtual tour. This is a series of linked images that allow you to wander at will around the public areas (and a few other places) at Lowell Observatory as it was at the turn of the millennium (December 1999 - May 2000). You can also visit the observatory's dark sky site at Anderson Mesa, 12 miles south-east of Flagstaff, either via the shortcut below or by teleport- just go down Mars Hill towards Flagstaff. The concept was inspired by the computer games Myst and Riven.


Click on the image, not the text above it. All images are provided in full size (640 x 480) format for maximum detail, and half-size (320 x 240) format for faster navigation. You can explore in either format, switching between them at any time by clicking on the link at the bottom of each image, where you will also find a link back to this page.

 With some exceptions, you can move forward (if allowed) by clicking on the center of an image, and turn to the left or right (without changing location) by clicking on the appropriate side. The allowed moves from each view, and the boundaries of the clickable zones, are shown above the image. If you have trouble making a turn, try continuing straight ahead and then looking to the left and right- the path may become clear.

Disclaimer: This tour was not originally designed for public consumption. Some images are blurry, and some areas, like the Slipher Building plaza, have glitches that make navigation non-intuitive, though with persitence you can usually get where you want to go. Check back for improvements in the future.

 Click on any image below to enter the virtual walkthrough:

Outside the Slipher Building

Outside the machine shop

Beginning of the Pluto Walk

Clark 24" Telescope

Outside the McAllister 

Steele Visitor Center Exhibit Hall

Mars Hill Road, approaching
the observatory

Bottom of Mars Hill Road

Anderson Mesa


The site is being developed by John Spencer, using a digital camera and IDL routines to write the HTML code. Images are heavily compressed to speed up download and allow more to be included: the rule is quantity, not quality!

As will become obvious, not all areas were photographed on the same day or time of day.

In your outdoor travels you will often be accompanied by the developer's faithful dog Hugo, who, as he doesn't compress very well, is best seen in his own personal picture.