CLYDE WILLIAM TOMBAUGH Astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto, signed this photocopied page of his 1980 book Out of the Darkness: The Planet Pluto in 1990, the 60th anniversary of the planet’s discovery. These photocopied pages detail the moment that he discovered Pluto on Feb. 18, 1930. Photocopy signed “Clyde W. Tombaugh/19 April 1990” in blue ink. With numerous notations and underlinings in Tombaugh’s hand. 1 page, 11×8½. This is a photocopy of pages 126 and 127 from Tombaugh’s 1980 book Out of the Darkness: The Planet Pluto which, according to the notations, is “now out of print”. These two pages detail the moment when, on Feb. 18, 1930, Tombaugh first discovered Pluto. Page 126 includes a photo of Tombaugh at a blink microscope – called a “comparator” in the text – which Tombaugh used in the discovery and which displayed alternating photographic plates to highlight moving objects against the fixed stellar background. Unfortunately, the importance of Tombaugh’s discovery was diminished somewhat in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union voted to remove Pluto from the roll of planets and reclassify it as a “dwarf planet”. But Pluto’s discovery is still an incredible accomplishment, and Tombaugh went to his grave as the last man to discover a planet inside our solar system. Tombaugh (1906-1997, born in Streator, Illinois) was hired in 1929 as an assistant by the Lowell Observatory in New Mexico to continue the search for a planet beyond Neptune, which had been initiated by Percival Lowell. Tombaugh used a blink microscope to compare photographs of a small part of the night sky and detect the planet. After ten months of painstaking comparisons, on February 18, 1930 he found Pluto in the constellation Gemini. Some of his ashes are carried on the New Horizons spacecraft, which was launched on Jan. 19, 2006 and is scheduled to fly by P… More information available. Please contact us if you have questions. HFSID 144824
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