Discoverer of Pluto


Burdett is the boyhood home of Dr. Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto. Born in Illinois in 1906, he grew up on a farm northwest of here and was graduated from Burdett High School in 1925.

During his youth, Tombaugh explored the heavens with homemade telescopes. Later he was hired by Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, and discovered Pluto, the outermost planet in our solar system, in 1930.

During his planet search, Tombaugh photographed 65 percent of the sky and spent 7,000 hours examining about 90 million star images. Besides Pluto, his discoveries included six star clusters, one cloud of galaxies, one comet and about 775 asteroids. Few astronomers have seen so much of the universe in such minute detail.

Dr. Tombaugh earned degrees from the University of Kansas and Northern Arizona University. He concluded his career as an astronomy professor at New Mexico State University.

Erected by the Lions Club and the Burdett American Legion
Page created by Rob Graham, native of Burdett
Historical marker on K-156
Beneath the water tower at Burdett

Pawnee County

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November 4, 1998 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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