Historical photographs

Lowell Observatory. Space observation

Lowell Observatory. Space observation


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Pluto was discovered following a telescopic search initiated in 1905 by the American astronomer Percival Lowell, who assumed the existence of a planet located beyond Neptune as the cause of slight disturbances in the movements of Uranus.

The path that led to his discovery is attributed to Percival Lowell who founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and sponsored three separate searches of "Planet X".

Lowell made numerous unsuccessful calculations to find it, believing that it could be detected by the effect it would have on Neptune's orbit. Dr. Vesto Slipher, director of the observatory, hired 24-year-old Clyde Tombaugh for the third search and Clyde made groups of photographs of the solar system plane (ecliptic) with a separation of one to two weeks and looked for something that moved about The background of stars.

This systematic process was successful on February 18, 1930 and confirmed that Pluto was in a position close to that foreseen by Lowell. However, the mass of the new planet seemed insufficient to be the "Planet X" that Percival Lowell had hoped to find and to explain the disturbances of Uranus and Neptune, and the search for a possible tenth planet continues.

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