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Clyde Tombaugh Autograph on Ten Special Commandments for a Would-Be Planet Hunter

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  • A signed copy of Clyde Tombaugh's Ten Special Commandments for a Would-Be Planet Hunter

Clyde W. Tombaugh (1906-1997) is the American astronomer who discovered the dwarf planet Pluto in 1930. During the course of his career, he also discovered nearly 800 asteroids and the first object in the Kuiper Belt.

Tombaugh travelled the United States giving talks on astronomy, in particular, his discovery of Pluto. During the talks he would often share his light hearted version of the Ten Commandments called "Ten Special Commandments for a Would-Be Planet Hunter".

The commandments are as follows:

"Behold the heavens and the great vastness thereof, for a planet could be anywhere therein.

Thou shalt dedicate thy whole being to the search project with infinite patience and perseverance.

Though shalt set no other work before thee for the search shall keep thee busy enough.

Though shalt take the plates at opposition time lest thou be deceived by asteroids near their stationary positions.

Though shalt duplicate the plates with a pair at the same hour angle lest refraction distortions overtake thee.

Thou shalt give adequate overlap of adjacent plate regions lest the planet play hide and seek with thee.

Thou must not become ill in the dark of the moon lest thou fall behind the opposition point.

Thou shalt have no dates except at full moon when long exposure plates cannot be taken at the telescope.

Many false planets shall appear before thee, hundreds of them, and thou shalt check every one with a third plate.

Thou shalt not engage in any dissipation, that thy years may be many for thou shalt need them to finish the job!"

This is a souvenir copy of Ten Special Commandments for a Would-Be Planet Hunter according to Clyde Tombaugh measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. Tombaugh would sell these souvenir copies at talks he gave about his discovery of Pluto so that he could raise money for scholarships for young people to study astronomy.

This sheet has been signed "Clyde W. Tombaugh, 31 July 1984" in blue ink across the bottom. It features some archive folds which do not affect the autograph. Otherwise in excellent condition.

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