File:Clyde Tombaugh Records - Flickr - brewbooks (1).jpg

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Percival Lowell's hope in tracking down Planet X was to establish his scientific credibility, which had eluded him thanks to his widely derided belief that channel-like features visible on the surface of Mars were canals constructed by an intelligent civilisation.

In 1915, he published his Memoir of a Trans-Neptunian Planet, in which he concluded that Planet X had a mass roughly seven times that of the Earth—about half that of Neptune—and a mean distance from the Sun of 43 AU. He assumed Planet X would be a large, low-density object with a high albedo, like the gas giants.

Lowell's sudden death in 1916 temporarily halted the search for Planet X. Failing to find the planet, according to one friend, "virtually killed him".

In 1929 the observatory's director, Vesto Melvin Slipher, summarily handed the job of locating the planet to Clyde Tombaugh, a 22-year-old Kansas farm boy who had only just arrived at the Lowell Observatory after Slipher had been impressed by a sample of his astronomical drawings

Tombaugh's task was to systematically capture sections of the night sky in pairs of images. Each image in a pair was taken two weeks apart. He then placed both images of each section in a machine called a blink comparator, which by exchanging images quickly created a time lapse illusion of the movement of any planetary body.

By the beginning of 1930, Tombaugh's search had reached the constellation of Gemini. On 18 February 1930, after searching for nearly a year and examining nearly 2 million stars, Tombaugh discovered a moving object on photographic plates taken on 23 January and 29 January of that year.

See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planets_beyond_Neptune and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Tombaugh

Lowell Observatory Flagstaff, Arizona

Lowell Observatory Flagstaff, Arizona

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Date
Source Clyde Tombaugh Records
Author brewbooks from near Seattle, USA
Camera location35° 12′ 10.41″ N, 111° 39′ 53.02″ W Kartographer map based on OpenStreetMap.View this and other nearby images on: OpenStreetMap - Google Earthinfo

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Checked copyright icon.svg This image was originally posted to Flickr by brewbooks at https://flickr.com/photos/93452909@N00/5873313912. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0.

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