The Planet Quiz Show  

Answer:  Clyde W. Tombaugh

Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930 by the late Clyde W. Tombaugh. Tombaugh was born in Streator, Illinois on February 4, 1906. In 1922 Clyde moved to Burdett, Kansas to farm with his family. Six years later, he sent drawings of planets made with his homemade 9-inch reflector to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Director V. M. Slipher subsequently hired him to conduct a photographic search for a Planet-X. On January 23, 1930, Clyde took the first of two exposures that led to his discovery of Pluto. Tombaugh died on January 17, 1997 just a few weeks short of his 91st birthday. Tombaugh was, until the early 1990s, an active observer of the night sky and popularizer of astronomy raising money for New Mexico State University’s astronomy department. An elementary school in Las Cruces, New Mexico and a planetarium in Alamogordo, New Mexico were named after Tombaugh.

Additional Information: Venetia Burney an 11-year old school girl living in Oxford, England was the first person to suggest the name Pluto for Tombaugh’s discovery. Venetia grew up to be a teacher and married Edward Phair. During 2008 she will celebrate her 89th birthday. Tombaugh was especially fond of naming his discovery Pluto because the first two letters of the word “P” and “L” could stand for Percival Lowell, the astronomer who first predicted Pluto’s existence. Ironically, the last two letters of Pluto could stand for Tombaugh, Pluto’s discoverer.

Cylde and Patsy Tombaugh
Will the real Clyde W. Tombaugh please stand up? You better get this one right!


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