Streaming | I Heart Pluto Festival - Visit Sedona Events Calendar

Streaming | I Heart Pluto Festival

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The I Heart Pluto Festival is going virtual! Show your love for our frosty ninth planet that was discovered in cold and snowy Flagstaff, Arizona by Clyde Tombaugh 91 years ago on February 18, 1930.


Saturday, February 13

Keynote Lecture: Why Pluto Is a Planet, The Embarrassment of The IAU, and Why They Had It Coming.

6 – 7pm MST | Dr. Alan Stern |  Watch on YouTube

The definition of planethood adopted by the IAU in 2006 makes little sense scientifically, and has been controversial since its inception. Dr. Stern will discuss each of these points, as well as the alternative, and superior, Geophysical Planet Definition used by most planetary scientists. Stern will then describe several ways in which the IAU’s reputation has been hurt by its ill-advised and flawed decision of 2006.

Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist and leads NASA’s New Horizons mission that explored the Pluto system.


Dr. Alan Stern



Sunday, February 14

Who Was Clyde Tombaugh?

6 – 7pm MST | Open discussion |  Watch on YouTube

An open discussion with Alden Tombaugh, David Eicher and Dr. Bill Sheehan, and moderated by Kevin Schindler.

He’s known as the man who discovered Pluto, but there was much more to Clyde Tombaugh. He was devoted to family, a spiritual man, a punster, and his favorite planet wasn’t what you might think.

Alden Tombaugh is Clyde’s son, Dave Eicher is Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy Magazine, Dr. Sheehan is an astronomy historian, and Kevin Schindler is the Lowell Observatory Historian.


Alden TombaughDavid EicherDr. William SheehanKevin Schindler



Monday, February 15

Inspiration of the Cosmos

5 – 6pm MST | Open Discussion with Retired NASA Astronauts
 Watch on YouTube

Moderated by Lowell Observatory Sole Trustee, W. Lowell Putnam


Nicole StottRon GaranW. Lowell Putnam



Monday, February 15

Uncovering Pluto

6 – 7pm MST | Lowell Observatory Educators |  Watch on YouTube

Lowell Observatory educators and historians explore the hallowed halls of the observatory, sharing Lowell’s Pluto heritage with stops at the Lawrence Lowell (Pluto Discovery) Telescope, underground vault containing one of the Pluto discovery plates, Clyde Tombaugh’s apartment, the Putnam Collection Center, and more.




Tuesday, February 16

Pluto After New Horizons

6 – 7pm MST | Dr. Will Grundy |  Watch on YouTube

Six years after the New Horizons flyby changed the Pluto from a faint point of light to a complex double planet, scientists are still investigation how it really works. Analysis of the data returned by New Horizons will continue for decades to come, but that’s not the only source. Crucial additional information comes from laboratory studies and from telescopes.

Dr. Will Grundy is a planetary scientist and head of the New Horizons mission’s Surface Composition Team.


Dr. Will Grundy



Wednesday, February 17

When the Moon Hits Your Eye

6 – 7pm MST | NOFS Tour, with special welcome by Jim and Charlene Christy |  Watch on YouTube

A tour of the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS) and the telescope used to discover Charon. Featuring a special welcome by Jim and Charlene Christy.

Jim Christy discovered Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, off images captured at the Naval Observatory in 1978. This facility is coincidentally located just four miles from where Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto nearly a half century earlier. Naval Observatory scientists will give a rare tour of the facility, focusing on the telescope used in Charon’s discovery.


Jim & Charlene Christy



Wednesday, February 17

Imagining Pluto: The Artist's Journey to Envision Pluto Through the Ages

7 – 8pm MST | IAAA Artists Dr. Dan Durda, Marilynn Flynn, and Ron Miller |  Watch on YouTube

With artists from the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), moderated by Jon Ramer.


Dr. Daniel DurdaMarilynn FlynnRon MillerJon Ramer



Thursday, February 18

Family Night at Pluto

5:30 – 6pm MST | Victoria Girgis |  Watch on YouTube

Family-friendly activities, with Lowell Observatory Educator Victoria Girgis and other Lowell Educators.

Join Victoria for the story of Venetia Burney, the 11-year-old English girl who named Pluto. Then watch as Lowell educators recreate the conditions of Pluto’s surface using liquid nitrogen in a display that’s sure to be fun for the whole family.


Victoria Girgis



Thursday, February 18

Following in Clyde’s Footsteps: Pluto Discovery Day Tour

6 – 7pm MST | Kevin Schindler |  Watch on YouTube

This tour retraces Clyde Tombaugh’s day of discovery with a tour around Flagstaff. It begins at Tombaugh’s apartment at Lowell and includes stops at Karma Sushi Bar Grill (formerly called the Black Cat Café, where Clyde ate his breakfast and lunch), Aspen Sports (previously the post office, where Clyde picked up the observatory’s mail), the Orpheum (where Clyde saw a movie the night he discovered Pluto) and more.

Kevin Schindler is the Lowell Observatory Historian.


Kevin Schindler



Thursday, February 18

We Heart Pluto

7 – 8pm MST | Open Discussion |  Watch on YouTube

An open discussion about the ongoing fascination with Pluto, with Alden Tombaugh, Dave Eicher, Alan Stern, and Coral Evans, and moderated by Dr. Jeff Hall.

Ninety-one years after its discovery, Pluto continues to excite the imagination of both scientists and the public. This discussion will explore our scientific, cultural, and historic connections to this beloved world and how we celebrate it.

Alden Tombaugh is Clyde’s son, Dave Eicher is Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy Magazine, Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist and leads NASA’s New Horizons mission that explored the Pluto system, Coral Evans is the former Mayor of Flagstaff, and Dr. Jeff Hall is the Director of Lowell Observatory.

  • Admission: Free
Upcoming Dates For This Event:



Lowell Observatory Youtube Channel

  • Flagstaff, Arizona