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Bob Berman's strange universe: Can't price passion

June 2005: Are amateur astronomers masochists?
Some people cough up $65,000 to climb Everest, then shiver for 9 miserable weeks in cramped mountainside tents, hoping to spend a few frozen minutes at the top. We admire them, but we also know they're nuts.

Do backyard astronomers possess that same chromosome, the one that controls masochism? If we added up astronomy's pluses and minuses, would they at least balance out? Such cost-benefit calculations are standard practice in business: Has anyone ever done it for the astronomy hobby?

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