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Clyde Tombaugh

American astronomer

Clyde William Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997) was an American astronomer known for discovering Pluto in 1930.

Clyde William Tombaugh
Clyde W. Tombaugh.jpeg
Tombaugh at his family's farm with his homemade telescope
Born(1906-02-04)February 4, 1906
in a ranch near Streator, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJanuary 17, 1997(1997-01-17) (aged 90)
Known forDiscovery of Pluto



Tombaugh was born in Streator, Illinois.[1] After his family moved to Burdett, Kansas, Tombaugh planned to attend college. After a hailstorm ruined his family's farm crops, he no longer had money for the expense of college.[2]

After he discovered Pluto, he did go to college at the University of Kansas and graduated with two degrees in astronomy.


  1. Tombaugh, Clyde; Patrick Moore (1980). Out of the Darkness: The Planet Pluto. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-8117-1163-3. "I was born on a farm near Streator, Illinois, on 4 February 1906."
  2. "A Man of Universal Wonder". American Academy of Achievement. 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2010-04-25. External link in |work= (help)


  • Falk, Dan, "More than a one-hit wonder", Astronomy, February 2006, 40–45.
  • David H. Levy Clyde Tombaugh: Discoverer of the Planet Pluto (Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1991). ISBN 0-8165-1148-9; also Sky Publishing Corporation, March 2006

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