Amateur Comet Hunters Win Cash for Their Discoveries

Being an amateur astronomer is rarely a profitable venture

Being an amateur astronomer is not cheap. Even the cheapest decent telescope will set you back a fair amount of money and once you start down the rabbit hole, you're not going to be satisfied with the cheapest tools.

Of course, the telescope is the absolute minimum equipment, most people go for much more than that.

Still, it can actually turn out to be a profitable venture, though you'll have a better chance at winning the lottery.

If you're feeling lucky though, comet spotting may earn you a bit of cash, enough to supplement your astronomy budget, apart from having the honor of getting the comet named after you.

The Edgar Wilson Award celebrates the few people that still try and manage to discover comets by themselves, and the year 2012 has honored five astronomers.

Leonid Elenin, for the P/2011 NO1 comet, Artyom Novichonok and Vladimir Gerke, for P/2011 R3, Terry Lovejoy, for C/2011 W3, and Fred Bruenje for C/2012 C2, got to split the $30,000, €22,000 prize money.

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