James W. Christy

James Walter Christy was born in America, 1938 James grew up around World War II and the Great Depression. He grew up with a wide interest in astronomy, which soon became his long time job. On June 12 1978, James was researching Pluto at the United States Naval Observatory, and found a strange moon. The discovery was made by carefully examining an enlargement of a photographic plate of Pluto and noticing it had a very slight bulge on one side. By examining images taken over several successive days, he was able to convince himself that it was a moon, which he soon named Charon. Many other scientists had seen the photographic plate, and dismissed it, saying it was stars in the distance, a deformity, but only James took the time to find out what it was. Christy’s earlier work at the Naval Observatory included taking pictures of double stars, which made him have a concluding thoughts that the bulge of the moon next to Pluto, might of just been a moon, to conclude this, he studied work for his earliest stages, dating back to 1965. The photographic evidence was considered convincing but not conclusive (scientists believed that it was still possible that the bulge was a giant mountain on Pluto). However, based on Charon's orbit, a series of mutual eclipses of Pluto and Charon was predicted and observed, confirming the discovery was correct. After a few years, Christy became a professer at IAU, where he resides today in his 70’s. In late 2008, the asteroid129564 Christy, was named in his honor