Profile of the Day: Percival Lowell

Posted March 13, 2014 by Amanda | No Comment

Percival Lowell

Remember the days when Pluto was still classified as a planet? Today we celebrate the birth of Percival Lowell, the astronomer who formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto. Lowell was born on March 13, 1855 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a prominent and wealthy family. Lowell founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and spent the last decade of his life in search of a possible ninth planet, which he termed “Planet X.” Fourteen years after his death, astronomers discovered Pluto. Its name would be inspired by Percival Lowell’s initials “PL.” In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, fueling the internet to cry afoul at the downgrade of Pluto’s status.

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