Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer without a career who discovered Pluto

Knowing about Pluto’s existence is a debt we can never repay to the legacy of Clyde Tombaugh (+), the non-career American astronomer who discovered the dwarf planet.

Born on February 4, 1906 in LaSalle, Illinois, and died on January 17, 1997 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Tombaugh found Pluto using a blink microscope, with which he compared photographs of a region of the sky that had been taken several days apart.

As astrology fans know, Pluto was long considered the ninth planet in the Solar System, before being downgraded to a dwarf planet in 2006. But since 1930, when this astronomer found the celestial body, Pluto has been part of space research.

The Passion of Clyde Tombaugh

As a report published on the website of National GeographicTombaugh’s passion for astronomy began as a teenager, building homemade telescopes on his family’s farm in Kansas.

But against his interest in astronomy was the reality: due to financial difficulties, he could not go to university and even had to make his own glasses.

In 1929, he sent drawings of his observations of Jupiter and Mars to the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, where they were so impressed that they offered him a job, great news for his family.

It only took him a year at the observatory to discover Pluto, so named because, like the god of the underworld in Greek mythology, it was an “invisible” planet, appearing and disappearing as it was hidden by Neptune’s orbit. .

The finding allowed him to enter the door of the astronomy career and he dedicated himself to studying Pluto for more than 10 years. This astronomer died in 1997 at the age of 90 and in 2006 an ounce of his ashes were sent into space on the New Horizons mission.