Pluto flyby significant for city where icy world discovered

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The observatory where Pluto was discovered is taking full advantage of a flyby of the dwarf planet Tuesday.

Lowell Observatory is expecting hundreds of people at its Flagstaff campus that overlooks the city. Clyde Tombaugh spotted Pluto there in 1930, painstakingly analyzing photographs of the night sky.

A handful of Lowell employees are in Maryland where NASA's New Horizons mission team is gathering. But the rest are preparing for the biggest celebration at Lowell in decades.

Visitors can get astronomy-themed face paintings, build paper models of the New Horizons spacecraft, win special Pluto-themed prizes and watch the live stream that will tell the world whether the mission is successful.

New Horizons will come within 7,767 miles of Pluto before dawn Tuesday. The confirmation signal won't reach Earth until Tuesday night.

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