Pluto and Charon Kuiper Belt and Comets. Discovery of Pluto. Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh (1906 – 1997) Irregularities in the orbit of Uranus and Neptune lead to predictions of a 9 th planet The calculations were in error, but Tombaugh discovered Pluto anyway
Pluto and CharonKuiper Belt and Comets
Tombaugh built his own telescope in 1926, at age 20
Sent his drawings to the professional astronomers at Lowell Observatory
They hired him to search for Pluto
In 1932 he went to college at the University of Kansas, received his B.S.
During WWII he served in the Navy and
After the War, Lowell didn’t have enough money
to hire Tombaugh so he went to work for
the military at the ballistics research labs
at the White Sands Missle Range in
Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he worked
Comets eject small particles that follow the comet around in its orbit and cause meteor showers when Earth crosses the comet’s orbit.
Meteors in a meteor shower appear to emanate from the same area of sky because of Earth’s motion through space.
Only a tiny number of comets enter the inner solar system. Most stay far from the Sun.
on random orbits extending to about 50,000 AU
on orderly orbits from 30–100 AU in disk of solar system