Kansas 105

Today's trivia (July 1)

Because of his father's love of the night sky, Clyde Tombaugh developed an affinity for astronomy.

And when the family's 2½—inch Sears Roebuck telescope proved not powerful enough to scan Kansas skies with detail, a teenage Tombaugh began grinding mirrors and constructing his own, made from parts off an old cream separator, thus earning him the nickname "Comet Clyde" around his hometown of Burdett.

Born in 1906 on an Illinois farm, Tombaugh moved with his family to rural Pawnee County as a teenager.

Once in Kansas, he was fascinated by the night sky and made notes and drawings of his findings — sending some to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Before he had even received formal training, Tombaugh was hired as a junior astronomer at the Lowell Observatory, where he often hunched over its telescope in freezing temperatures and exposed film until the early morning hours.

On the nights of Jan. 23 and 29, 1930, at age 24, he spotted Pluto.

His discovery method was methodical:

Examining hundreds of photos taken of the same portion of the sky, Tombaugh explained later to reporters, he looked for tiny dots that differed slightly on any two photos.

Question: During his career, Tombaugh confirmed the rotation period of what planet?

Click here to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate from Innovative Vein.

Answer to Thursday’s question: According to a postcard from that time period, the flag's American Indian image symbolizes a hogan — or permanent home — and happiness for the people of Wichita.

Check back at Kansas.com Saturday for the answer to today’s question.

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