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Pluto discoverer would understand demotion -widow

Written by: Staff

WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) The astronomer who found Pluto would have understood why his discovery was demoted to non-planet status because he was a good scientist, his widow said today.

''Clyde said, 'Well, it's there. You can do what you want with it,''' Patricia Tombaugh, 94, said from her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Her husband Clyde W Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930 while working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, was disappointed and frustrated when scientists began questioning its status.

But she said: ''Clyde would have said, 'Science is a progressive thing and if you're going to be a scientist and put your neck out, you're apt to have it bitten upon.''' Tombaugh said a tiny amount of her husband's ashes were on a spacecraft bound for Pluto.


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