Science: Through the Looking Glass

Every night last week, 16-year-old Lewis Macfarlane, a tall, intent Seattle high-school senior, carefully trained his homemade 8-in. telescope on a northeastern sector of the star-sprinkled sky. Now and then he paused to check his notes with fellow sky-watcher Karl Krienke, 24, a math teacher at Seattle Pacific College. They were compiling a log—speed, appearance, location—on Comet 1955F, and their unmistakable pride came from the fact that they had just discovered the new comet themselves.

Actually, they officially shared astronomical honors with a Russian professional, A. M. Bakharev, who had reported seeing Comet...

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