"The similarity between the two is that Astronomy, like
computing, is one of the few fields of science where amateurs can
still make a difference. There is so much that is unknown and
undiscovered out there that even though an amateur isn't going to
discover a new planet, it's perfectly possible for a talented
observer to be the first to spot a new comet, or even a supernova.
Even with a modest investment in equipment, an amateur can perform
useful tasks, and help make discoveries that genuinely advance the
"Computing science is like that too. You don't need to create
the world's largest or fastest supercomputer in order to do useful
research and create new algorithms or programs on which others can
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