Delhi students discover two 'new' asteroids

Aug 16 2014, 15:30 IST
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SummaryTwo 'new' asteroids have been discovered by a team of students from two city schools as part of a nationwide campaign.

Two 'new' asteroids have been discovered by a team of students from two city schools as part of a nationwide campaign.

Aryan Mishra and Keerti Vardhan from Chinmaya Vidyalaya and Akshat Sharma and Kshitij Jindal from Bal Bharati Public School made the discovery, according to an NGO, which works towards popularising science and astronomy in the country.

"These discoveries are now waiting to be placed in the world's official minor body catalogue maintained by the International Astronomical Union in Paris" said Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) who organized the campaign with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).

"Once the discoveries will be reconfirmed the students will get the chance to name the asteroids," it said.

The 'Near-Earth Objects' discovered by the students are asteroids that have been nudged by gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter earth's neighborhood.

"It is therefore important to keep a close watch on these objects for the safety of the Earth," said an official from SPACE, which acts as the nodal agency for organising asteroid search campaign in the country and providing training to students and amateur astronomers for asteroid hunting.

While the discovery by Aryan Mishra and Keerti Vardhan of has been designated as '2014 00372', the finding by Akshat Sharma and Kshitij Jindal of Bal Bharati Public School has been designated as '2014 OU6'.

"It was an amazing experience working on the software. I am really glad that SPACE provided me with this opportunity. I feel privileged for the opportunity given to me" said Akshat Sharma.

Aryan Mishra of Chinmaya Vidyalaya said, "Discovery consists of what everybody has seen, but not which nobody has thought. I never thought that I'll discover any asteroid but I was interested in hunting comets and reading about asteroid."

Last year a team of two students - Shourya Chambial and Gaurav Pati from Amity International School, had discovered a new Main Belt asteroid during Phase II of the campaign. The discovery was named as '2013 LS28'.

"It is a wonderful endorsement of the efforts of the students, their teachers, the school and the team from space. This will surely catapult these students to a global platform to pursue a career out of it," Amit Verma, CEO, SPACE said.

This year, said Verma, marks the fifth year of a countrywide campaign for students, which first began in the year 2010.

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