Today in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh took the first set of plates that led to the discover of Pluto. Based on its unusual orbit, astronomers were able to track its movement against the relatively static field of stars and determine that it was a part of our solar system.
The naked eye can hardly notice the difference between these images that were pivotal to such a major discovery. By 1994, the Hubble Space Telescope had been launched and was beaming images back to Earth. Here is the best image of Pluto as of 1994.
Nothing but a blob of pixels. And yet, this remained one of the best images we had of Pluto until 2015, when NASA's New Horizons finally made its closest approach to our most distant neighbor after more than nine years and three billion miles. That's when the now-famous image below was released to the world.
How far we've come. As New Horizons heads further out into space, I look forward to even newer and better discoveries that enlighten us the way this photo has.