march 13th 1940, clyde tombaugh, using a special wide field camera at the
it was disappointly faint, a thousand times dimmer than the dimmest object visible to the naked eye, and presented no discernable disk.
the planet was named after Pluto, the mythological roman god of the underworld – and NOT the fucking dog of disney fame…
the name "Pluto" was suggested by venetia burney, an 11-year-old english school girl who is still living in england as of 2007, and who therefore lived to see the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet. it won out over numerous other suggestions partly because it was named after the Roman god of the underworld (who was able to render himself invisible) and because percival lowell's initials PL formed the first 2 letters. the name Pluto was officially adopted on 1 may 1930.
i wonder what intellectual wonders an 11-year old would name a planet today...high school musical?
in a 1 in 365 coincidence, the planet uranus was also discovered on this date by sir william herschel, all the way back in 1781.
i have actually seen this planet naked eye from a remote mountain dark sky observing site in west virginia. you have to use what's called 'averted vision' and even then it blinked in and out of sight. daisy & i would never have seen it at all if someone who was observing the planet with his telescope hadn't pointed it out to us.
uranus was the first discovery of a planet made using a telescope.