Slated to open in 2023, the $29 million ADC is expected to boost the observatory's public education capacity to more than a quarter-million visitors annually. The facility will feature several innovative experiences, including a Universe Theatre that will supplement live presentations with video projected onto a wraparound screen and the Dark Sky Planetarium, a rooftop amphitheater that will use the dark skies of the Flagstaff area as a natural planetarium dome. The ADC is part of the Mars Hill master plan for the complex, the first stage of which, the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, is set to open October 5.
"This gift essentially makes our new Astronomy Discovery Center a reality," said Lowell Observatory director Jeff Hall. "As usual per naming gifts, it's exactly half the construction cost, it creates momentum, and we are already seeing that it's inspiring other donors to step up."
Established in 1990, the Marley Foundation provides support to Arizona nonprofits working in the areas of arts and culture, civic and community engagement, education, health and human services, medical facilities and equipment, and science and cancer research. In 2017, the foundation awarded the observatory $1.4 million in support of long-range planning efforts and astronomy-related research.
(Image credit: Lowell Observatory)