”I always wanted to know what’s on the other side of the mountain.”
A Life of Discovery
Clyde Tombaugh's love of astronomy began as a young boy growing up near Streator. At age 24, he became famous for discovering Pluto.
The future astronomer was born on February 4, 1906 on a farm close to Streator. He was educated in Streator schools and checked out science books from the city's library.
Clyde taught himself astronomy. He built homemade telescopes with parts from old farm machinery and his father's Buick.
Clyde was working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona on February 18, 1930 when he discovered a new planet at the far reaches of the solar system. The Observatory staff named the planet Pluto, and Clyde became famous overnight.
Over the next seven decades, Clyde discovered two comets and hundreds of new stars and asteroids. He worked hard and had a warm sense of humor. Clyde passed away in 1997, but his legacy remains alive in Streator and beyond.
Exploring New Horizons
NASA launched the New Horizons spacecraft in 2006 for the first ever fly-by
The spacecraft revealed many new facts about Pluto. Particularly interesting is a large heart-shaped feature discovered on the planet's surface. NASA named it Tombaugh Regio after Streator's own farm boy-turned-astronomer.
”There’s a great universe out there. We’re only a small part of it. I like to try to raise the curiosity: what is out there in space?”
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Education • Science & Medicine. A significant historical date for this entry is February 18, 1930.
Location. 41° 8.848′ N, 88° 50.131′ W. Marker is in Streator, Illinois, in LaSalle County. Marker is on North Bloomington Street (Illinois Route 23) just north of El Camino Court, on the right when traveling north. Marker and Pluto monument are located near the northwest corner of Anderson Fields Golf Course. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1901 North Bloomington Street, Streator IL 61364, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Clyde William Tombaugh (here, next to this marker); 100th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Flight (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Colonel Ralph Plumb (approx. 1.7 miles away); Streator Civil War Memorial
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Clyde Tombaugh & Lowell Observatory
Also see . . .
1. Who Was Clyde Tombaugh?. Clyde had been reading some of his older issues of Popular Astronomy Magazine when he saw an observation report on Mars written by staff members from Lowell Observatory. Inspired, he sent some of the drawings he’d created while observing the planets to V.M. Slipher, then Lowell Observatory’s director. After exchanging several letters with Slipher, Clyde received one that would change his life forever. In it, Slipher offered him a position at the observatory on a trial basis, stating that if he could prove his worth to the observatory, he would be offered a more permanent position there. (Submitted on July 17, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt(Submitted on July 17, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 167 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 17, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.