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Amir Alexander

Pluto: The Discovery of a Planet

Posted by Amir Alexander

18-02-2005 11:00 CST

Topics: history, trans-neptunian objects, Pluto, dwarf planets beyond Neptune

To mark the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the planet Pluto, The Planetary Society presents to its readers the remarkable story of the discovery.

Read here how Clyde Tombaugh, a farm boy from Kansas with a high school education, succeeded where accomplished professional astronomers had failed, and discovered the elusive 9th planet. Learn about how the closed cosmos of the ancients became the open universe of modern times, opening the door to new discoveries in the heavens. Find out about William Herschell's discovery of Uranus, and how the detection of Neptune turned into nationalist feud between England and France. Meet Percival Lowell, the eccentric American visionary who believed in intelligent life on Mars and launched the search for "Planet X."

The Pluto Dome

Emily Lakdawalla

The Pluto Dome
Nestled among the trees at the Lowell Observatory is the small observation dome that houses the 13-inch Lawrence Abbott telescope, known today as the "Pluto Discovery Telescope." Working from this dome, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in the winter of 1930.

All this and more on our 75th anniversary special:


Part 1: The Blinking Image

Part 2: Out of the Six-Planet World

Part 3: Planet X

Part 4: Clyde's Search

Part 5: The Aftermath

Part 6: From Pluto to Sedna

See other posts from February 2005


Or read more blog entries about: history, trans-neptunian objects, Pluto, dwarf planets beyond Neptune


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