February 18th, 2011

telescope Crown Optics

Happy Pluto Day!

Today is Pluto Day! On February 18, 1930, Clyde Tombaugh (that's him, below) announced his discovery of Pluto.

Everyone knows that many people were disappointed by the decision to demote Pluto from "planet" to "dwarf planet" a few years ago. Especially Americans, because Percival Lowell (the astronomer whose calculations indicated that Pluto existed) and Clyde Tombaugh (who finally discovered it) were both Americans. Did do you know Tombaugh's full story? Here he is with his homemade telescope that he used to search for Pluto:

Click the image to see the KU Department of History story.

And here's Tombaugh's story, courtesy of the KU Department of History:

Not many undergraduates enter the University of Kansas having already achieved worldwide fame. And, to date, only one has enrolled at KU after discovering a planet. His name was Clyde Tombaugh, a 24-year-old amateur astronomer from Burdett, Kansas, who positively identified Pluto as the ninth planet in our solar system on February 18, 1930. The finding was the culmination of many years of scanning the night skies by numerous astronomers searching for what had been known as “Planet X,” an effort analogous to looking for a golf ball located 33 miles away.
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So today let's celebrate Clyde Tombaugh and his discovery of the planet Pluto!