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Happy Pluto Discovery Day!

Exactly eighty years ago, Clyde Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 - January 17, 1997) discovered the elusive Planet X, which later became known as Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh wasn't your average planet hunter.  At eleven years of age, Clyde was already working on the family farm.  He planted corn and wheat by day and searched the skies at night.  He built his first telescope at eighteen and found the ninth planet in our solar system at twenty-four.  Clyde Tombaugh, a self-educated farm boy from a small town in the Midwest, discovered the most controversial celestial object in the history of astronomy!  To learn more about the man behind the discovery, The Pluto Files crew traveled to Clyde Tombaugh's hometown.

Behind the Scenes - On the Streets of Streator, IL
Filming in Streator, IL, birthplace of Clyde Tombaugh, was an amazing experience.  The people were so generous and were more than happy to accommodate our demanding film crew.  My first task in Streator was to find what we called a picture car.  For the film, the producer wanted Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of The Pluto Files, to drive into town in style.  So, I asked around and learned that Streator had just held its annual Roamer Cruise Night.  Over 600 vintage cars and 20,00 people attend this event.  (Streator's population hovers around 15,000.)  I hit the jackpot! Neil ended up driving this set of wheels:

Neil with Cadillac.jpg


But, this is no ordinary vintage 1959 pink Cadillac. This car can shoot fifty-foot flames from its tailpipes! After we finished filming, the owner was kind enough to demonstrate. Unfortunately, you will not see any dragon-like breaths of fire in The Pluto Files. You'll have to visit Streator, IL for that.

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Fran Laks

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