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Clyde W. Tombaugh

Clyde W. Tombaugh was an American astronomer who, in 1939 at the age of twenty-four, discovered the planet Pluto, and who later witnessed UFOs on several occasions. His most publicized sighting occurred on August 20, 1949. In the company of his wife and mother-in-law, Tombaugh observed a geometrically arranged group of six-to-eight rectangles of light, window-like in appearance and yellowish-green in color, which moved from northwest to southeast over Las Cruces, New Mexico. In The World of Flying Saucers (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1963), Donald Menzel and Lyle G. Boyd quote Tombaugh as saying, ". . . the faintness of the object, together with the manner of fading in intensity as it traveled away from zenith towards the southeastern horizon, is quite suggestive of a reflection from an optical boundary or surface of slight contrast in refractive index, as in an inversion layer." However, in a letter to Richard Hall, dated September 10, 1957, and published in The UFO Evidence (Washington, D.C.: National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, 1964), Tombaugh stated, "I doubt that the phenomenon was any terrestrial reflection. . . ." He concluded the letter by saying, "I was so unprepared for such a strange sight that I was really petrified with astonishment." In an interview published in the August 1975 issue of Science Digest, Tombaugh notes that he was working at the White Sands Missile Range at the time of the sighting and knew that "we didn't have anything that could do that." He reported it to the FBI with the request that it not be made public. However, the story leaked out and Tombaugh was deluged with crank letters. When he later observed two other strange phenomena, he did not report them in order to protect his professional reputation. as to what he might have seen, Tombaugh states, "It is still a very open question."


Source: The UFO Encyclopedia by Margareth Sachs - 1980
No infringement intended. For educational purposes only.