Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Girl who named Pluto dies at 90

Venetia Phair, UK, was 11 when Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in 1930. Her grandfather, Falconer Madan, told her of the discovery, and discussed possible names for the new planet. ‘Why not call it Pluto?’, she suggested. Madan passed the suggestion on to friend Herbert Hall Turner, professor of astronomy at Oxford, who in turn telegraphed Lowell Observatory, which endorsed the suggestion. Venetia's grandfather gave her a five-pound note for her idea. Venetia died April 30 in her home in Banstead, England.

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