The Discovery Channel Telescope moved one step closer to becoming a reality Tuesday.
Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications Inc. broke ground for the 4.2-meter telescope north of the U.S. Forest Service Happy Jack Ranger Station at Coconino National Forest in Arizona.
The telescope will be the fifth-largest in the continental United States and one of the most sophisticated ground-based telescopes of its size, according to DCI and Lowell.
“By significantly improving the exploration of our solar system and the universe beyond, Discovery and the Lowell Observatory will bring the most exciting new discoveries found in our universe to millions of people around the globe,” DCI founder and chairman John S. Hendricks said in a prepared statement.
Lowell Observatory director Bob Millis added, “Today's groundbreaking is one more important step toward the realization of a dream that began just over a decade ago, when Lowell Observatory celebrated its centennial year. With this new telescope, Lowell astronomers will be equipped to continue cutting-edge research well into our institution's second century and, through the magnificent programming capabilities of our partner, Discovery Communications, we will see the results of that research brought into living rooms and classrooms around the world.”