85 Years Ago Today, A Schoolgirl From England Named Pluto

On May 01, 1930, 85 years ago today, Pluto got its name.

Venetia Burney at the age of eleven when she suggested the name Pluto.

The name Pluto was proposed by an eleven-year-old schoolgirl from England named Venetia Burney (1918–2009). Venetia, who had an interest in Greek and Roman mythology, suggested to her grandfather, Falconer Madan, that the new planet should be named Pluto because it was dark and far away, like the god of the underworld. Venetia’s grandfather, a librarian at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, passed on the suggestion to an astronomer friend of his. This astronomer, Herbert Hall Turner, in turn cabled the suggestion to the Lowell Observatory. Astronomers at the Lowell Observatory liked the suggestion, and Tombaugh’s newly discovered celestial body was officially named Pluto on March 24, 1930. Venetia received £5 as a reward for her suggestion.

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