Lowell, Percival

Lowell, Percival (1855-1916), a United States astronomer. In 1894 he established the Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona. From his studies of Mars, Lowell concluded that the planet's so-called canals had been constructed by intelligent beings. He mathematically predicted the discovery of a new planet beyond Neptune, and when it was sighted in 1930, the planet was given the name Pluto, which begins with Lowell's initials.

Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the brother of the poet Amy Lowell and the educator A. Lawrence Lowell. In 1876 he graduated from Harvard University. He wrote several books on the Far East and on astronomy.