Festival Celebrates Discovery of the “Dwarf Planet”

The I Heart Pluto Festival, set for February 15 and 18, will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the February 18, 1930 discovery of Pluto.

Highlights of the event include a keynote presentation by Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission that explored Pluto in 2015; a space-themed art exhibit at Lowell Observatory, and Mother Road Brewery’s limited release of “Pluto Porter” beer.

On February 15, the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona will host a variety of public events during its regular operating hours. Observatory staff and guests will rededicate the Zeiss Blink Comparator—the machine used by Tombaugh to discover Pluto and which just returned to the observatory after a five-year-engagement at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

At 4 p.m., members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists will be on hand for the opening reception of a space art exhibition. During this reception, Mother Road Brewery will unveil its Pluto Porter, a limited release, nitrogenated beer created in conjunction with Lowell astronomers.

Other events include Pluto Scavenger hunts, Pluto-themed science experiments, and both English and Spanish language tours of Pluto-related facilities. On the evening of the 15th, Alan Stern will speak at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library Auditorium.

Tuesday, February 18 marks the actual 90th anniversary of Pluto’s discovery. Lowell Observatory is hosting an evening of entertainment at the Orpheum Theater that includes the opportunity to sample the Pluto Porter. The event highlights Tombaugh’s day of discovery, retracing his steps from Lowell to various places in downtown Flagstaff (dinner at the Black Cat Café—where Karma Sushi now operates and is offering a commemorative Pluto Roll—and watched a movie at the Orpheum Theater). Lowell Observatory Planetary Scientist Will Grundy and Northern Arizona University Professor Steve Tegler will discuss current Pluto research in Flagstaff and City of Flagstaff officials will be on hand to talk about the importance of Pluto to Flagstaff.

You can visit the event web site here. ◊

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