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Crowd sourcing comes to astronomy

Online snaps of comet used to determine its orbit

Some people scour the Internet for pictures of celebrities and cats.

Others search for comets.

After performing a Yahoo! image search for photos of Comet Holmes, which whizzed by Earth in 2007, a team of astronomers used the returned images to reconstruct the comet’s orbit in three dimensions — proving that astronomers can take advantage of data provided by an unwitting group of participants.

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