Meet an Amateur Astronomer Who's Discovered Hundreds of Asteroids


We might not all become astronauts someday, but that doesn’t mean the field of space exploration isn’t within grasp. Take Gary Hug—an amateur astronomer who’s discovered 300 asteroids. Fueled simply by his own passion and curiosity, Hug uses equipment he made himself.

Great Big Story recently visited Hug at his home in Scranton, Kansas. In the video feature above, he says, “If you discover an asteroid … even though there’s a half million of them out there, that’s one you found. Nobody else in the world knew about that asteroid before you saw it.”

Hug’s interest in space started early, and while his first telescope was a Christmas gift, he eventually moved on to building them on his own in a machine shop. A 10-foot-by-10-foot observatory called “Sandlot” sits behind his house, and for the past 15 years or so, Hug has been identifying near-Earth objects. His quest is much like that of the Near Earth Object Program at NASA, a government-tasked team that makes sure we know if a planet-annihilating space rock is headed our way.

While Hug doesn’t have a degree in astronomy, he says he’s built his life around this passion and “lifelong study.” His story is a testament to the fact that exploration requires nothing more than an interest and some resourcefulness—even when you're reaching for the cosmos.

Images via Great Big Story // YouTube.

[h/t Great Big Story]