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Clyde Tombaugh using his blink comparator

Clyde Tombaugh using his blink comparator

H420/0131

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Clyde Tombaugh. View of Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997) with the blink comparator he used to discover Pluto. Tombaugh couldn't afford to study at college, but built his own telescope, and became an assistant at Lowell Observatory. Lowell himself predicted the existence of a ninth planet, and a team was set up to find it. Tombaugh invented the blink comparator to facilitate the search. This device allowed comparison of two photographs of the sky, which showed if any object had altered position. After 7000 hours of work, he found a tiny object outside the orbit of Neptune, which was named Pluto. In the course of his searches, he also discovered some 3000 asteroids.

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