It’s fair to say Clyde had at least a healthy interest in the possibility of life on other planets, and he’s on record as having witnessed a few things that puzzled him. Some of his explanations have to strike us as pretty half-baked — for example, in 1949, he suggested that a bright flash he observed on the Martian surface in 1941 might have been an atomic blast. The following account of a possible UFO sighting — submitted by Clyde in 1957 — displays his usual meticulous observational eye. What this guy saw, he really saw — whatever it was.
“I saw the object about eleven o’clock one night in August, 1949, from the backyard of my home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I happened to be looking at zenith, admiring the beautiful transparent sky of stars, when I suddenly spied a geometrical group of faint bluish-green rectangles of light similar to the “Lubbock lights”. My wife and her mother were sitting in the yard with me and they saw them also. The group moved south-southeasterly, the individual rectangles became foreshortened, their space of formation smaller, (at first about one degree across) and their intensity duller, fading from view at about 35 degrees above the horizon.
“Total time of visibility was about three seconds. I was too flabbergasted to count the number of rectangles of light, or to note some other features I wondered about later. There was no sound. I have done thousands of hours of night sky watching, but never saw a sight as strange as this. The rectangles of light were of low luminosity; had there been a full moon in the sky, I am sure they would not have been visible.”
UFO enthusiasts count Tombaugh as one of their own.
Here’s a bit about the Lubbock Lights.