Tombaugh , Clyde William
(1906–1997) American astronomer
Tombaugh came from a poor farming background in Streator, Illinois; although he never went to college he managed to teach himself enough of the basic observational skills to be taken on by the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1929. He transferred to New Mexico in 1955 and served as professor between 1965 and 1973.
Percival Lowell had begun his search for a planet lying beyond the orbit of Neptune in 1905 and this search continued at the Lowell Observatory after his death. Tombaugh was given the job of systematically photographing the sky along the ecliptic where it was thought any trans-Neptunian planet would be found. He used a specially designed wide-field telescope and for each region took two long-exposure photographs separated by several days. He then examined the pairs by means of a blink comparator, an instrument that allows two plates to be alternately observed in rapid succession. Any object that has moved against the background of the stars in the interval between the two exposures will appear to jump backward and forward. Methods were therefore devised for distinguishing asteroids and other moving bodies from the sought-for planet. After a year's observation Tombaugh was able to announce on 13 March 1930 the detection of the new planet, later named Pluto, at a point agreeing closely with the position predicted by Lowell.
The question arose as to whether there were any further trans-Neptunian planets. Consequently Tombaugh continued the search but, although he examined 90 million star images and discovered 3000 asteroids, no other new planet was detected. It is likely that Tombaugh has the honor of discovering the final planet of the solar system.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tombaugh,Clyde William — Tom·baugh (tŏmʹbô ), Clyde William. 1906 1997. American astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto (1930). * * * …   Universalium

  • Tombaugh, Clyde William — ▪ 1998       American astronomer (b. Feb. 4, 1906, Streator, Ill. d. Jan. 17, 1997, Las Cruces, N.M.), discovered the planet Pluto, the ninth planet in the solar system and the only one found in the 20th century. Tombaugh was 24 years of age when …   Universalium

  • Tombaugh, Clyde William — ► (1906 97) Astrónomo estadounidense. Descubrió el planeta Plutón en 1930 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Clyde William Tombaugh — Clyde Tombaugh Clyde William Tombaugh (* 4. Februar 1906 in Streator, Illinois; † 17. Januar 1997 in Las Cruces, New Mexico) war ein US amerikanischer Astronom. Er ist der Entdecker des Zwergplaneten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clyde William Tombaugh — Astéroïdes découverts : 14 (2839) Annette 5 octobre 1929 (2941) Alden 24 décembre 1930 (3310) Patsy 9 octobre 1931 (3583) Burdett 5 octobre 1929 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tombaugh, Clyde W. — ▪ American astronomer in full  Clyde William Tombaugh   born Feb. 4, 1906, Streator, Ill., U.S. died Jan. 17, 1997, Las Cruces, N.M.       American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 after a systematic search for a ninth planet instigated by …   Universalium

  • Clyde William Tombaugh — noun United States astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto (1906 1997) • Syn: ↑Tombaugh, ↑Clyde Tombaugh • Instance Hypernyms: ↑astronomer, ↑uranologist, ↑stargazer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tombaugh — Clyde William …   Scientists

  • Tombaugh — Tombaugh, Clyde William …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Clyde Tombaugh — Clyde William Tombaugh Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory Born February 4, 1906(1906 02 04) in a ranch near Streator, Illinois, U.S. Died January 17, 1997(1997 0 …   Wikipedia

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