Celebrating Discovery Channel Telescope’s ‘First Light’

Neil Armstrong at DCT First Light Gala
Neil Armstrong at DCT First Light Gala (Image Credit: Arizona Daily Sun)

This week, I celebrate my 10-year anniversary at Discovery Communications, and there are countless reasons why I and so many others have spent so many years at this company (I jokingly label them with numbers, as in “reason #164 I love working at Discovery.”) The launch of the Discovery Channel Telescope at Lowell Observatory is #165.

On Saturday, a First Light Gala was hosted in Flagstaff, Arizona to celebrate the debut of the fifth largest telescope in the United States with a keynote address from astronaut Neil Armstrong and remarks from Discovery Communications’ Founder & Chairman John Hendricks and Lowell Observatory’s William Lowell Putnam III and Dr. Jeffrey Hall. Testing and commissioning of the telescope, which is located near Happy Jack, Arizona, will continue for at least another 18 months and structured scientific research is expected to begin in 2013 or 2014. (Of note, the Lowell Observatory was made famous for discovering Pluto in 1930.)

“The Discovery Channel Telescope is emblematic of our mission to ignite curiosity and stir the imagination of audiences here and around the globe,” said Hendricks. “The telescope represents ‘discovery’ in both word and deed and we are thrilled to see the amazing places it will take us with breathtaking images and vital new research.”

Discovery Channel Telescope Captures Galaxy M 109 at First Light
Discovery Channel Telescope Captures Galaxy M 109 at First Light (Image Credit: Lowell Observatory)

The 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope will also be featured in a Discovery Channel special airing in September, and we can’t wait to see what the new telescope helps us discover!