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Jan. 26, 2006
Contact: Barbara Anthony Twarog, professor of physics and astronomy, (785) 864-3910.

100th anniversary of the birth of discoverer of Pluto to be noted at KU

Tombaugh

LAWRENCE — Astronomy enthusiasts will honor University of Kansas alumnus and astronomy pioneer Clyde Tombaugh with a presentation by a scientist instrumental in launching an exploratory mission to Pluto, a planet Tombaugh discovered, and a star gazing party.

The 100th anniversary of Tombaugh’s birth will be celebrated Saturday, Feb. 4, in Alderson Auditorium at the Kansas Union. Alan Stern, a scientist who worked with New Horizon, the recently launched mission to Pluto, will be the featured speaker. His presentation will begin at 8 p.m.

Following Stern’s presentation, participants will make their way to the hill near Memorial Stadium for a star viewing, weather permitting. Barbara Anthony Twarog, professor of physics and astronomy and an organizer of the event, said participants will use telescopes to view stars and possibly planets Mars and Jupiter. The celebration is sponsored by Astronomy Associates of Lawrence. It is free and open to the public.

Tombaugh discovered Pluto on Feb. 18, 1930. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astronomy from KU. He went on to a long, distinguished career in astronomy. He died in 1997. The Clyde Tombaugh Observatory at KU is named in his honor.

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