Dhruv Gupta and Deshna Jain, two students of Salwan Public School, Gurgaon, have discovered new asteroids as a part of a campaign conducted by the US-based International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) to familiarise Indian students with astronomy.
Dhruv is a student of Class 11, while Deshna studies in Class 10. Their discovering have been classified as 2016 S21 P10vK9F and 2016 JQ37 P10VlA8.
The two students are a part of the Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), which is an Indian organisation working in collaboration with the IASC programme for the past six years. With this collaboration, IASC hoped to add to NASA’s existing database of asteroids.
Image for representation only. Source:By ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org) (http://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1108a/) [CC BY 4.0 or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
“These provisional discoveries have been confirmed and formally recognized asteroid discovery, as endorsed by international agencies concerned, having the highest value among all the discoveries/observations credited,” representatives of SPACE told The Times of India. These observations will contribute to the Near Earth Object (NEO) data being collected by NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab.
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Asteroids are small rocky bodies that get pulled into the orbit of a larger celestial body due to the gravitational force. They are typically found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
SPACE organises these asteroid search campaigns in India, which not only allow children to access highly detailed astronomical images but also give them the opportunity to interact with renowned scientists. Participants are also provided with the required training to hunt for asteroids. This time the participants had access to highly detailed images obtained from the 24 inch and 34 inch telescopes positioned at the Astronomical Research Institute Observatory in the United States. They hunted for new asteroids hurtling around in space after downloading and analysing data with special software. An official from SPACE said that the students will get to name the asteroids once the data has been reconfirmed.
Know more about SPACE here.