NASA Releases Best Photos Yet of Pluto
The guy in the photo above is Clyde Tombaugh, the man credited with discovering Pluto in 1930. Clyde Tombaugh was born here in Illinois, just outside Streator, in 1906. He built his first telescope at age 20, even grinding the mirrors himself. His home-built telescope worked so well that he was soon making detailed observations of Jupiter and Mars. When he sent his notes to Lowell Observatory in Arizona, hoping for some constructive criticism, he instead got a job offer. The staff had been looking for a qualified amateur astronomer to search the night skies for what they called "Planet X," or the ninth planet. After Tombaugh spent weeks of study, and weeks to confirm, the Lowell Observatory made the official announcement of a 9th planet on March 13th, 1930.
Clyde Tombaugh would have loved this view from NASA's New Horizons Space Probe:
As for the name, Pluto was selected out of many suggestions in a world-wide naming contest. A British girl, 11-year old Venetia Burney, suggested the name because she thought the distant, dark, and cold planet looked a lot like the home of the Greek god of the underworld. Not Mickey Mouse's dog.
As I mentioned above, Clyde Tombaugh would have loved the images from the New Horizons.
He actually has a much better view, as his ashes are aboard the space probe.