Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s great uncle Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. The first photos of the planet emerged Wednesday.
In 1930, 24-year-old Clyde Tombaugh discovered the icy Kuiper Belt object that later became known as Pluto. In 2008, when Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, one Dodgers rookie was particularly upset.
It turns out that Tombaugh was Clayton Kershaw’s great uncle, a fact that Kershaw seems to have first revealed in a chat on ESPNLosAngeles.com in 2009. He also mentioned it in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in 2013.
“It’s something that’s been a huge problem in the Kershaw/Tombaugh family for a couple of years now,” Kershaw said, according to For the Win. “My great uncle discovered Pluto. I know that sounds like a joke when it comes out, but it’s true. Clyde Tombaugh, great uncle, discovered Pluto. And they took it away from us. Said it’s a dwarf planet now.”
Tombaugh died in 1997 at the age of 90 and NASA launched the New Horizons mission to Pluto nine years later, with Tombaugh’s ashes on board. On Tuesday, after traveling three billion miles, the probe finally got within spitting distance of Pluto and it sent back the first high-resolution photos of the object on Wednesday.
- Dan Gartland