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|Clyde Tombaugh was only twenty-four years old when he discovered Pluto!|
Claude Tombaugh was born on a farm in Illinois. His father was a farmer. Clyde's dad loved to study the stars. Clyde also learned to love stargazing. He even learned to make his own telescopes to study the sky. Clyde dreamed of going to college and becoming an astronomer. There was a big storm the year Clyde planned to go to college. The family's crops were ruined by the storm. There was no money to pay for college.
Clyde found another way to reach his dream. He used a telescope he built himself to study Mars and Jupiter. Clyde then drew pictures of what he saw. He sent his drawings to astronomers who worked at the Lowell Observatory. The astronomers were so pleased with Clyde's drawings that they offered him a job. Clyde's job was to take pictures of the night sky. He then had to study the pictures using a special machine. He was trying to find proof of a new planet in our solar system. Clyde went to work at the Observatory in 1929. At that time, eight planets were known in our solar system. Astronomers had been looking for a ninth planet since 1905. In February of 1930, Clyde Tombaugh found proof of a new object in our solar system. He named the object Pluto. From its discovery until 2006, Pluto was called a planet. However, as scientists learned more about it and other objects like it, it was changed to being called a dwarf planet.
Clyde Tombaugh died in 1997. He was ninety years old.
Can you name all eight of the planets in our Solar System? Use the Solar System section of StarChild to help if you don't know them all.
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