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Percival Lowell American businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer

Percival Lowell : the Man Who Discovered Canals and Oases on Mars

Percival Lowell: American Astronomer (1855-1916) 

Percival Lawrence Lowell was an American astronomer, businessman, mathematician, and also author. In Lowell’s lifetime, his theories were kept skeptical. Lowell no doubt made several discoveries but with that, he also made some blunders. He left his very concrete legacy named the Lowell Observatory. 

About Percival Lowell

Born on March 13, 1855, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. In 1872 Lowell graduated from the Noble and Greenough School and for his further studies went to Harvard University in 1876  and passed out with a Bachelor’s of Arts in mathematics. After his college he worked in his family business and traveled to the far East and lived in Korea for two months and spent notable time in Japan, writing books on Japanese religion, behavior, and psychology. 

Early life 

In 1983 Lowell determined himself in the study of Mars and Astronomy and adopted it as his full-time career. Percival Lowell made a detailed mathematical study of the Orbit of Uranus in the early 20th century.

Lowell’s name is forever linked with Pluto, as he was the first person whose theory regarding the existence of Pluto was discovered after 14 years of his death.

Adulthood 

In the early winters of 1893-94, he started his observation study and chose Arizona Territory as his home far from the city lights, and with 2,100 meters altitude, it was an excellent site for astronomical observations. Percival Lowell was very dedicated to the study of Mars as he spent fifteen years in that study (1893 to 1908).

The man who took astronomy to next level.

The study of Mars 

Lowell started his study on Mars and soon after his observations, he announced that he discovered canals and oases on Mars. This news caught the publics’ attention very quickly and Lowell delivered a series of lectures to society he sketched and discussed the water channels, variations in brightness that were visible. 

But his discovery was completely disproven by NASA. Later Lowell mapped features on Venus as well and the features he discovered were only an optical illusion. 

Pluto’s existence 

Dwarf planet Pluto was considered the ninth and most distant planet from the Sun. In 2006, controversy about Pluto’s planet status attracted a lot of people’s attention. Percival Lowell was the first American Astronomer in 1905 who caught hints on Pluto’s existence.

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Contribution to mathematics 

Percival Lowell contributed to the mathematical study of the orbit of Uranus in the early 20th century. He allocated certain irregularities to an unseen planet that was beyond Neptune and tried calculating its probable position.

Legacy 

Percival Lowell’s legacy is continuing as Lowell Observatory and it enters its second century to the astronomy of its service. Lowell continued to work and live at the Observatory for the rest of his life and continued working on planet Mars until he died in 1916. The facilities have been used for moon mapping for NASA hosts and other programs.

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Books published 

  • In 1906, Mars and its Canals
  • In 1908, Mars was the abode of life 
  •  The Soul of the Far East, 1888
  • In 1903, The Solar System 
  • In 1915, Memoir on a Trans-Neptunian planet

Death 

Percival Lowell died on 12 November 1916, in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.

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Quotes 

Imagination is vital to any advance in science as learning and precision are essential for starting points.

Percival Lowell

That Mars is inhabited by beings of some sort or other we may consider as certain as it is uncertain what these beings may be. 

Percival Lowell

FAQ

1. What was Percival Lowell famous for?

Percival Lowell was the one who found the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff and after his discovery, Pluto was found after 14 years. Lowell was also famous for being a mathematician, businessman, travel writer, and astronomer. 

2. What did Percival Lowell see on Mars?

Percival Lowell saw and depicted extended linear lines which were not natural features but channels of water cut by a dying advancement. And announced the discovery of canals and oases on Mars.

3. When did Percival Lowell die?

Percival Lowell died on 12 November 1916, in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.

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Conclusion

Percival Lowell’s theory didn’t really work out for him but it definitely made some curiosity in people’s minds when it was about Mars and also Lowell in search of Planet X found out about Pluto and after several years when Lowell was no more, Clyde Tombaugh discovered finally about Pluto. But still, Percival Lowell is known for his contributions and theories about canals and oases on Mars.

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