Tombaugh, Clyde William

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Tombaugh, Clyde William

(tŏm`bô), 1906–97, American astronomer, b. Streator, Ill. Although lacking formal training or a college degree, he was hired in 1929 as an assistant by the Lowell ObservatoryLowell Observatory,
astronomical observatory located in Flagstaff, Ariz.; it was founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, the American astronomer who popularized the idea that Mars might support intelligent life. Its original telescope, still in operation, is a 24-in.
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 to continue the search for a planet beyond Neptune, which had been initiated by Percival LowellLowell, Percival,
1855–1916, American astronomer, b. Boston, grad. Harvard, 1876; brother of Abbott Lawrence Lowell and Amy Lowell. He visited Korea and Japan, where he acted as counselor and foreign secretary to the Korean Special Mission to the United States and wrote
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. Tombaugh used a blink microscopeblink microscope,
in astronomy, device for determining a change in position or magnitude (brightness) of a star relative to other stars in the background. Two photographs of the same field or area of the sky are projected so that they precisely coincide.
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 to compare photographs of a small part of the night sky and detect the planet. After ten months of painstaking comparisons, on Feb. 18, 1930, he found PlutoPluto,
in astronomy, a dwarf planet and the first Kuiper belt, or transneptunian, object (see comet) to be discovered (1930) by astronomers. Pluto has an elliptical orbit usually lying beyond that of Neptune.
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 (now regarded as a Kuiper belt object [see cometcomet
[Gr.,=longhaired], a small celestial body consisting mostly of dust and gases that moves in an elongated elliptical or nearly parabolic orbit around the sun or another star. Comets visible from the earth can be seen for periods ranging from a few days to several months.
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] and a dwarf planetdwarf planet,
a nonluminous body of rock or gas that orbits the sun and has a rounded shape due to its gravity. Unlike a planet, a dwarf planet is not capable of clearing its orbit of smaller objects by collision, capture, or other means.
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) in the constellation Gemini. After several weeks of observation by the observatory staff to validate the discovery, it was announced on Mar. 13, the 75th anniversary of Lowell's birth. Tombaugh received a scholarship from the Univ. of Kansas, where he obtained his bachelor's (1936) and master's (1939) degrees. He subsequently returned to the observatory and also held several academic posts. He focused on planetary observations, particularly of Mars, and in 1965 images returned by the space probe Mariner 4 confirmed his prediction that the Martian surface would have craters caused by asteroid impacts. He wrote Out of the Darkness: The Planet Pluto (1980) with Patrick Moore.


See biography by D. H. Levy (1992).

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My dad would be thrilled with New Horizons, said Clyde Tombaugh s daughter Annette Tombaugh, of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Those who expelled Pluto from the planet club are, in the main, credentialed astronomers employed by government-subsidized facilities in which a 21st-century Clyde Tombaugh would be wearing a hairnet and ladling mac and cheese in the cafeteria.
18 Jefferson Davis inaugurated president of the Confederacy this day in 1861; Clyde Tombaugh discovers the planet Pluto in 1930; in 1979, start of snowstorm that dumps 18.
When Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930, it was quite close to Delta in the sky.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer at the Lowell Observatory, following almost 100 years of searching for a ninth planet beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Thirteen years after Lowell died in 1916, American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh picked up the torch, using Lowell's calculations as a guide.
In March 1930, eleven year old Venetia Burney was present when her father Charles Burney, Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oxford, and grandfather Falconer Madan, formerly Librarian of the Bodleian Library, were discussing the report in the Times of the discovery of a new planet by Clyde Tombaugh.
Desde que Clyde Tombaugh descubrio a Pluton, el 18 de febrero de 1930, los astronomos no se han puesto de acuerdo sobre la naturaleza de este cuerpo, tal vez porque "lo que sabemos hoy sobre Pluton es tan poco que cabe en el reverso de un timbre postal", como ha dicho Colleen Hartman, investigador de la NASA.
These discoveries confound the understanding of the solar system that has prevailed since Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930.
In 1930 my old friend Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, which is smaller than the moon, and since then many other even smaller bodies have been found in the Kuiper Belt.
Late in 1996, the astronomy world was saddened by the deaths of Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, and Carl Sagan, the world's most famous scientist and science popularizer.
After a long hiatus, Lowell Observatory resumed the search in 1929 by hiring the young Clyde Tombaugh to take photographic plates with a 13-inch astrograph and blink-compare them for moving objects.