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Updated Apr 24, 2013 - 6:29 am

Campaign to restore Flagstaff telescope within sights of finish line

PHOENIX -- An effort to raise $250,000 to restore a Lowell Observatory telescope is within sight of the finishing line, the observatory said.

Lowell Observatory is within $70,000 dollars to reach the amount needed to restore a telescope that has been aimed skyward since 1896.

Kevin Schindler with the observatory said the Clark Telescope was used to map the moon for landings and scan the surface of Mars. But after 117 years on the job it needs a bit of work because it's basically being held together with bubble gum and bailing wire.

"You had people taking care of it that were pretty...creative," he said. "Like using 1954 Ford pickup truck tires, a frying pan as a lens cap and a bicycle chain to move gears around. It has a lot of quirky things so we want to maintain that."

The Clark was the first large telescope in the American Southwest and has been used on almost every clear night for a century.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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