Thursday, March 13, 2008

and on this day in history...

march 13th 1940, clyde tombaugh, using a special wide field camera at the lowell observatory in flagstaff arizona discovered what was thought to be the long-sought so called “planet x”. well that’s when they announced the discovery to the world. he actually discovered it on february 18th.

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.


harvey said...

Are you sure you're a 'British Bloke'? You havent mentioned football (and you know what I mean by football)once on here! And who cares about Hilary Clinton when theyve gone and put 4p on a pint of beer!

nutty said...

quite sure mate! growing up and going to school in cambridge, it was rugby, then football. i was never much good at football and could run with a ball much better than i could kick it.

sadly, good beer is a dim distant memory...they freeze everything to death over here, including guinness.

and i do care about who lives in the whitehouse since i live within a mile of it and can see it every time i walk out of my apartment building.