Published: 19th December 2022
Nine students from Jammu and Kashmir join global asteroid search campaign
The campaign was organised by the Homi Lab in association with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration
Nine students from a private school in Jammu Kashmir's Kathua district joined the global Kalam Asteroid Search Campaign, a part of Nasa's citizen science project. They were among 105 participants from nine countries, selected through a rigorous screening process.
The campaign was organised by Delhi-based Homi Lab in association with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) from October 21 to November 15, Homi Lab said in a press release. A spokesperson of the lab said this was the first time that a school from the Kathua district has participated in the NASA Campaign, as per a report by PTI.
Shreya, Abhay Pratap Singh, Divum Bharti, Rashi Sharma, Alyssa Sardhalia, Samar Pratap Singh Bhadwal, Mehul Sharma, Mrigan Kamouli Vaishisth and Pranaya Mahajan were the Jammu and Kashmir students from the Spring Dales English School who took part in the campaign. Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Homi Lab, Srijan Pal Singh, congratulated them.
He said, "These discoveries are crucial contributions to our knowledge of the cosmos around us. Knowing the asteroids around and mapping them is an important element in our bid to understand and monitor these travelling rocks from distant worlds around our planet."
"As part of Nasa's citizen science project that is conducted by Hardin Simmons University, USA, IASC and Homi Lab deployed a unique platform that gave selected participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover real near-Earth objects and Main Belt asteroids. Outreach and training support was extended by Kalam Centre, Delhi," the release informed, as per PTI.
After selection, the students were trained to analyse data and spot potential asteroids close to the earth. The process involved highly specialised training for the participants to operate an advanced astronomical software, Astrometrica. "This software is used to analyse images from the Pan Starrs (The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope, located in Hawaii, USA. It uses a 1.8 m (60 inch) telescope to survey the sky to look for asteroids, comets, and Near-Earth Objects (NEO)," the release explains.
"At the end of the campaign, young minds made path-breaking contributions to Nasa's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Programme and discovered three preliminary asteroids. Preliminary discoveries are the first observations of asteroids found in the main belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter which need further confirmation to go to provisional status. It is usually five years after which an asteroid can be officially catalogued by the Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union (IAU)," the document read.