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Book details
  • SubGenre:Science & Nature / Astronomy
  • Age Range (years):8 - 12
  • Language:English
  • Pages:48
  • Paperback ISBN:9798218265298

Needle in a Haystack

How Clyde W. Tombaugh Found an Awesome New World

by Diane Phelps Budden

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"Picking out a faint planet amid the myriad of star images would be literally like finding a needle in a haystack." —Clyde W. Tombaugh, 1980

As a young boy Clyde W. Tombaugh learned about astronomy from his father and uncle. He built his own telescope and made detailed drawings of Mars and Jupiter. He sent the drawings to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ and was hired to locate a new planet at the edge of the solar system. Clyde's discovery turned the scientific world and the public upside down with excitement.


Growing up on a Kansan farm gave Clyde W. Tombaugh plenty of sky to explore, plenty of time to learn all he could about astronomy. He and his father and uncle trained their homemade telescope on the planets. Clyde drew the surfaces of Mars and Jupiter and shared his drawings with Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Gadzooks! They hired him to help search for a new planet! After 300 days of scouring the sky with a photographic telescope, Clyde pinpointed Pluto's location on February 18, 1930. With tenacity and a passion for astronomy, he found the last planet in the solar system. The scientific community and the public were jubilant. Clyde's story is perfect for STEM students. The back matter provides a follow-up to the status of Pluto, now considered a dwarf planet, and the 2015 New Horizons Pluto flyby. There is also a bibliography, glossary and biography of Tombaugh's life of discovery.

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About the author
Diane Phelps Budden spent over 30 years in corporate and academic marketing in Michigan before moving to Sedona, Arizona, where she fell in love—with ravens. She wrote about them in The Un-Common Raven: one smart bird cited as a children's Panelist Pick in the 2013 Southwest Books of the Year. Diane's Dear Hubby of Mine: Home Front Wives of World War II is a true story told with loving letters her parents exchanged during the war. Her latest children's book is Needle in a Haystack: How Clyde W. Tombaugh found an Awesome New World about the discovery of planet Pluto at Lowell Observatory. The author visits schools, libraries, and museums around Arizona to present book talks, story hours and workshops about self-publishing. Visit the author at www.dianephelpsbudden.com.

Book Reviews

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Wonderful story well written and illustrated This is a wonderful story about the man who discovered Pluto. A tribute to persistence written for children to understand and adults to appreciate. Filled with priceless old photos of his family and the early days of the Lowell Observatory. The book is complete with documentation and illustrations to bring the well written story to life. I highly recommend for anyone interested in shooting for the stars and wondering what does it take to discover a new planet! Read more