Story of Leslie Peltier

...Lwaliw Peltier of Delphos, Ohio, an unassuming farmer who was "the world's greatest non-professional astronomer". Earlier in this century, Peltier discovered a dozen comets and made 132,000 variable-star observations. He earned $18 by picking 900 quarts of strawberries in order to buy his first telescope, "the strawberry spyglass".

– P.129, Comet of the century, Fred Schaaf,  Copernicus, Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Some interesting facts of Japanese comet hunters

... Great Kaouru Ikeya, who took a factory job at the age of 14 to help support his family but eventually saved enough money to build his own inexpensive telescope. He searched the pre-dawn skies before work for 335 hours over 109 nights in more than a year before finding his first comet. His co-workers were so proud of him that they put together a gift of $300 to help him continue his comet hunting. ...Ikeya proceeded to discover another comet the next year (1964) and then, in 1965, one of the great comets of the century -- the sungrazer Ikeya-Seki. In 1966, Ikeya found a rather dim comet and then, at the end of 1967, another comet that also ended up being called Ikeya-Seki. In 1965, Ikeya had found the great comet just 15 minutes before Tsutomu Seki; in 1967, he beat Seki by no more than 5 minutes!

The many Japanese amateurs' skll and intensity is demonstrated by the events of October 5, 1975. That night, three of them independently discovered Comet Mori-Sato-Fujikawa within 70 minutes of each other. Later that night, five of them independently discovered Comet Suzuki-Saigusa-Mori within half an hour of each other. Hiroaki Mori is the only person ever to have discovered two comets visually in one night.

– P.127, Comet of the century, Fred Schaaf,  Copernicus, Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Stories about Charles Messier

The sport of visual hunting got started after the first predicted return of Halley's Comet. Charles Messier thought he was the first person to recover the comet in January 1759, but he then learned that a German farmer, Johann Georg Palitzsch, had beaten him by almost a month. This disappointment must surely have been a factor in inspiring Messier to start hunting for comets in the 1760s. At first, he had the field to himself, but his countrymen Jacques Montaigne and Pierre Mechain soon became his rivals. Messiers's fierce competitiveness is suggested by a famous story. Shortly after Messier's wife died, he heard that Montaigne had found a new comet. A friend, seeing Messier wracked with grief and thinking he was upset over his wife's death, said "I am sorry." Messier allegedly replied, "Alas! Montaigne has robbed me of my comet!" -- and then, trying to recover, "Poor woman."

-- P.123-124, Comet of the century, Fred Schaaf,  Copernicus, Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.