Locating Planet X (Pluto)
When Life hands You Lemons...
In 1922, Clyde Tombaugh was a Midwestern American kid looking for a way to get himself to college. When a hailstorm scuttled his family's farm, a wave of ingenuity set him on the path to prominence in the field of planetary science...
In 1926, Clyde Tombaugh sent a series of drawings (of Jupiter and Mars) that were based upon his personal observations to the Lowell Observatory in Arizona — an offshoot of the Boston-based observatory that had previously begun the search for Pluto in 1906. Tombaugh was invited to join the team in Arizona and discovered Pluto on February 15, 1930.
The (Dwarf) Planet Who Could
Since its discovery 1930, Pluto's classification has changed a few times. First considered a planet, then... not, then a planet again, and finally a dwarf planet. However, somewhat interestingly, Pluto has only come about 1/3 of the way through a single orbit of the Sun in that time — it is estimated to take about 248 years for Pluto to orbit the Sun once.
While there is no evidence to confirm it, many believe that Pluto was Walt Disney's inspiration in naming Mickey's lovable canine sidekick. On the other hand, we can say with absolute certainty that the same naming convention that brought us uranium (Uranus) and neptunium (Neptune) was used to name plutonium.
NASA's 'Year of Pluto' Video Footage
For more on the mystery and awe surrounding Pluto, here's a 58-minute special from NASA.
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