My Dad Discovered Pluto

  • By Alden Tombaugh
  • Posted 01.01.10
  • NOVA

The date February 18, 1930 probably doesn't stand out particularly in your mind, but it certainly does in mine. For that's the day my father, Clyde Tombaugh, a farmboy-turned-astronomer, discovered Pluto, becoming the first American to find a planet. In this slide show of old family photos, follow the trajectory of my father's remarkable career, which, in its way, began and ended at Pluto.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

How did Clyde Tombaugh go from baling hay to finding Pluto? See family photos and hear his son Alden reflect.



Courtesy Alden Tombaugh

Related Links

  • The Pluto Files

    Take a cross-country journey with Neil deGrasse Tyson to explore the rise and fall of America's favorite planet.

  • In Defense of Pluto

    Alan Stern, head of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto, stands up for the little guy.

  • Notes From the Pluto Files

    Neil deGrasse Tyson describes what it was like to meet Clyde Tombaugh's family and other people passionate about Pluto.

  • What's Your Favorite Planet?

    Listen in as 11 planetary scientists make pitches for the "best" planet, then vote yourself.


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