Clyde William Tombaugh ( born February 4, 1906 in Streator, Illinois, † January 17, 1997 in Las Cruces, New Mexico) was an American astronomer. He is the discoverer of the dwarf planet Pluto (1930 ), who was until 2006 as the ninth planet of the solar system.
Tombaugh was born into a farming family. His hopes to visit the College of Streator, were dashed when a hail storm destroyed the property of the parents. The family moved in 1922 to Kansas, and built near the village of Burdett new lives. The young Clyde learned on your own and taught himself geometry and trigonometry at. At age 20 he built his first telescope. He watched the Mars and Jupiter and sent drawings of his observations at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff (Arizona ). Actually, he only asked for help and suggestions, but Vesto M. Slipher, director of Lowell, offered him a position in 1929 as a research assistant (junior astronomer ). Tombaugh accepted and remained there for 14 years.
On February 18, 1930, he made the discovery of his life, he recognized by a moving object as the long-sought trans - Neptunian object. It was the third overall, yet in 1916, financed by Sir Percival Lowell systematic search. The unknown celestial body was later named after the Roman god of the underworld Pluto, who could make himself invisible ( crucial to be Lowell's initials PL have been ). In subsequent years, Tombaugh discovered hundreds of new asteroids and two new comets. The denial of the planet status of Pluto in 2006 did not live Tombaugh.
Tombaugh had 1925 Burdett graduated from high school and was finally able to record in 1932 with a grant from his astronomy studies at the University of Kansas. In 1936, he a bachelor and three years later earned a master's degree. From 1943 he was professor of physics at Arizona State Teachers College, now Northern Arizona University, and later was an instructor for navigation tasks. In 1945, he worked as a visiting professor of astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Lack of money he could after the Second World War did not resume his old place at the Lowell Observatory. Instead, he developed from 1946 at the White Sands Proving Grounds optical tracking telescopes for A4 rockets that were tested there. In 1955 he moved to the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he built the Astronomy Department, and until his retirement in 1973 taught astronomy.
On 19 January 2006, the spacecraft New Horizons was launched to investigate the dwarf planet Pluto. On board there was also ashes of Clyde Tombaugh.
Tombaugh was married since 1934 with Patricia ( Patsy ) Edson and had two children.