During the summer holidays, we (Pranav Sunil & Vedasri Krishna) enrolled ourselves in the ” International Asteroid Discovery Project” in collaboration with IASC and NASA’s Citizen Science. This program was hosted in India by Stem and Space.

Stem and Space organize various camps and programs to instil an interest in astronomy among children. They also held the National Astronomy Challenge, where I got a National rank of 1 in Grade 4 and a National rank of 5 in Grade 5. Stem and Space had sent us an invite asking us to join this Asteroid Search Program last year as well, but since the minimum entry grade criteria were grade 6, we could not enrol the previous year. We did not miss the chance this year, so we joined the May 16 – Jun 9 batch of this year’s asteroid search program and represented our school on this international platform.

We were given access to their IASC campaign page through a login id and password. We were then introduced to a software called Astrometrica, and we had two training sessions on how to use this software to detect any moving objects from the image sets they provided us. These image sets are four images of the same spot in Space captured either by Pan- the STARRS1 or Pan-STARRS2 telescope over different periods. We were also trained in generating reports and submitting them for each image set on their IASC website.

We received a total of 23 image sets, and we identified eight moving objects using the image blinking effect. Out of the eight moving objects that we placed, 2 of them qualified as preliminary discovery. Once the Minor Planet Center(MPC) verifies these two moving objects, they will be considered Provisional discoveries. But they also have mentioned that preliminary discoveries may get rejected by the MPC for various reasons.

Once a moving object qualifies as a Provisional discovery, this will be further closely studied for 3 – 5 years to verify the asteroid’s orbit and other measurements. Once that is done, this asteroid will be named after us ( its discoverers ), and we eagerly await it.

Posted by cmradmin

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