On India’s 67th Independence Day, the students of India brought pride & honor for the country by discovering asteroids during All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC) 2013, in the 3rd phase conducted by SPACE in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) in July, 2013. The discovery has been made by Balachandra Routhu & Ayush Gupta class Xth students of Ryan International School, Sohna Road, Gurgaon
The discovery has been confirmed by the International Scientific Community and the asteroid has been provisionally named as 2013 PR, and is waiting to be placed in the world’s official minor body catalogue maintained by International Astronomical Union (Paris). Earlier students from this school had claimed a provisional discovery in 2011. When a discovery is classified as provisional, the Minor Planet Center monitors future observations
When a sufficient number of observations have been made to fully determine the orbit, the asteroid is numbered and identified in the world’s official minor bodies catalog by the International Astronomical Union. At that point, the students will get the chance to name the asteroid as per their choice. This campaign has witnessed another Provisional Discovery last month when Shourya Chambial and Gaurav Pati from Amity International School, Pushp Vihar also discovered an asteroid.
SPACE collaborates with IASC (International Astronomy Search Collaboration), a consortium of reputed labs and research centers conducting hands on science programs to bring this program to India, and this is the 4th year. With the help of SPACE’s AIASC program Indian students have achieved asteroid discoveries and have proved that with access to data and software of this level, it is possible for Indian students to claim their spot at the forefront of research
The participants in the All India Asteroid Search campaign analyse the images of the sky taken with the 24″, 32″ and 30″ telescopes located at the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) Observatory, at Charleston, Illinois. Students and amateurs in India participating in this program, make original discoveries of asteroids and other near earth objects (NEO) by analysing this data with the help of software after the highly specialized and advanced training provided by SPACE. SPACE also supervises and coordinates this program for the whole duration of 3 months. The new discoveries of NEO objects and other observations or reconfirmation of the previously discovered objects, all contribute to the NASA Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA)
Mr. Sachin Bahmba, Chairman and Managing Director, SPACE Group, and the man behind this project, said “Congratulations to the students of Ryan International School, for Provisional discovery of Main Belt Asteroid. You have doubled the joy of India’s independence and brought a proud moment for our Country. AIASC Phase III saw 99 NEO observations, 01 NEO confirmation, 06 Preliminary Discoveries. He further added that SPACE has not only successfully implemented astronomy and space science curriculum in Indian education system but has also been able to provide such platforms to the students where they distinctively contribute in scientific discoveries at a very early age.
Dr. Patrick Miller, Director, IASC said, “Congratulations!!! Inspite of hurdles, you guys have made it! You are just one step closer to having the asteroid numbered and placed into the world’s official minor body catalog maintained by the International Astronomical Union (Paris)”.
SPACE is the nodal agency for organising this asteroid search campaign in India. SPACE has been conducting AIASC in India for students and amateur astronomers from the past four consecutive years with the endeavor to increase the love for science, astronomy and scientific research in Indian students especially schools students, and it has been very successful.