Two Delhi school kids turned a school project into an achievement of galactic proportions.
Mayank Sharma and Shubham Sharma — students of DAV Centenary School in Paschim Enclave — spotted two asteroids in a span of eight days.
The boys, who had been enrolled into the All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC) conducted by Science Popularisation Association of Communications (SPACE) and the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) in Arizona, first made the discovery on July 17.
“Both students had been enrolled into the AIASC competition. They initially thought that these object were Near Earth Observations (NEO), but they got a confirmation about 8 days later that these observations were indeed asteroids. The asteroids will also be named after them,” said Sarika Saluja, who teaches Chemistry in DAV School.
“We received thorough training from SPACE, which has its office in west Delhi. We used a special software to read the pictures taken by 24 inches and 32 inches telescopes in Arizona. The IASC had given us these images. After analysing the images, we matched them with the currently known asteroids. Once it was established that these were two new asteroids, we sent the data to Arizona for confirmation,” said Shubham Sharma.
The budding astronomers now aim to make a career out of their discovery, with their talent having found a steady platform.
“This is a huge boost. I always had a keen interest in astronomy, but now I want a career in the discipline. I will prepare for engineering simultaneously,” Sharma added.
School authorities said that they would now pull out all stops to make sure that this discovery finds global recognition.
“These students are members of the school’s space club and it is wonderful to see that the country has such young talent. We will make sure that their discovery is known globally,” said Manju Malik, principal of DAV School.