Clyde W. Tombaugh is almost certainly most famous for his discovery of the planet Pluto on February 18th 1930. The American astronomer remained an avid stargazer for the rest of his years though and that would pay off in the form of remarkable UFO sightings many years later.
On August 20th 1949, Tombaugh observed a group of 6-8 lights up in the sky. They were rectangular in shape and green/yellow in color with an almost window-like appearance. The sighting occurred near Las Cruces, New Mexico. As a popular UFO destination, the number of sightings throughout New Mexico, particularly in the 1940s, was significant. The UFOs themselves appeared geometrically arranged and moved northwest to southeast across the sky as Tombaugh watched.
He noted that they did not appear to be like anything he would ordinarily consider a visual anomaly. In his own words, Tombaugh stated: “I doubt that the phenomenon was any terrestrial reflection, because… nothing of the kind has ever appeared before or since… I was so unprepared for such a strange sight that I was really petrified with astonishment.”
It would later become known that Tombaugh had in fact witnessed what he referred to as “green fireballs” a number of times. These sightings were particularly common in the region from the early 40s to the mid 50s.
In 1952, Tombaugh met with Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who had the task of conducting research for the Air Force’s Project Blue Book that was underway at the time. In a survey conducted by Hynek, Tombaugh disclosed what he had seen over the years, along with four other astronomers who had also witnessed a number of unexplained objects throughout their careers.
In 1956, Tombaugh made the following statement: “I have seen three objects in the last seven years which defied any explanation of known phenomenon, such as Venus, atmospheric optic, meteors or planes. I am a professional, highly skilled, professional astronomer. In addition I have seen three green fireballs which were unusual in behavior from normal green fireballs… I think that several reputable scientists are being unscientific in refusing to entertain the possibility of extraterrestrial origin and nature.”
To hear such resounding words from a world-famous, pre-eminent astronomer such as Clyde Tombaugh is, in a way, startling. However it also acts as solid confirmation for the existence of the UFO phenomenon as a whole as frankly, it would be difficult to think of anyone more qualified to speak on the matter.
To this day, his sightings are considered significant due to the man’s reputation within the field of astronomy. As a trustworthy and highly credible source, the Tombaugh sightings are not to be lightly dismissed.
Although Tombaugh’s sighting occurred with his own two eyes, the sighting makes us wonder as to the kinds of anomalies observed through modern-day telescopes, considering their far superior optics as well as the sheer amount of monitoring going on with regards to distant planets. Considering we can see so much more than astronomers such as Tombaugh would have been able to, those watching the skies today must surely be learning a great deal about extraterrestrial life as we speak.