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Stars are the limit: Gurgaon students get to name asteroids

more-lifestyle Updated: Sep 10, 2016 07:57 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
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Gurgaon students have discovered asteroids and will now get to name them as well.

Have of heard of Salwan 75 asteroid? This, and many other interesting names are sure follow through as a few Gurgaon students now have provisional asteroid discoveries to boast for, that have been discovered as part of a campaign called All India Asteroid Search Campaign.

Science Popularisation Association Of Communicators And Educators (SPACE) under its internationally acclaimed programme- All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC) 2016, gave an opportunity to school students from India to find real asteroids in outer space. It was done in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), and conducted by Dr. Patrick Miller of Hardin Simmons University, USA as an educational outreach programme.

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Monica Sangwan, representative, from SPACE, says, “The opportunity was provided in 2 phases with 90 teams across India, each team had two participants.Through this campaign, students have made confirmed discoveries of Main Belt Asteroids and important observations that contribute to the NASA Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA).”

While city students Dhruv Gupta and Deshna Jain found two provisional asteroids , Mikul Manocha and Devarya Lakhanpal, Pravesh Narang and Mihika Agarwal have one provisional discovery to their credit.

Gurgaon students Pravesh Narang and Mihika Agarwal along with their school teacher.

Elated by the discovery, Dhruv Jain, who along with his teammate Deshna , sent 20 reports, out of which two were selected as provisional discoveries, or confirmed discoveries, says, “My school selected me and Deshna from our school. We had attended workshops that were conducted by SPACE organization where we worked on the software. Every day we used to get a data set consisting of photos. And we used to analyze the photos on the software by zooming and blinking it and further marking the moving object. Our reports were sent to the scientists and SPACE organization. Now, we will also get an opportunity to name them.”

City students Dhruv Gupta and Deshna Jain pose along with their school teacher.

“We were given live images by NASA during the competition and a data set of four images every day. It could have been a rock, or a discovered asteroid, but fortunately we got two undiscovered asteroids,” adds Deshna Jain.

Ask him the name he has in mind for the two asteroids and pat comes the reply, “One is Salman 75, we are yet to decide a name for the other,” shares Dhruv.

Proud mother Ruchi Lakhanpal, mother of 13 year old Devarya Lakhanpal, says, “He’s always had a bent towards science and would spend the whole day analysing photos. He used to come back and explain the process to us with great amazement.”