05.11.2012 change 05.11.2012

Polish students have found five new asteroids

PAP © 2012 / PAP © 2012 /

Polish students have discovered five new asteroids, and made several important observations of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) in the recently finished All-Poland Asteroid Search Campaign, Dr. Lech Mankiewicz told PAP.

International Asteroid Search Campaigns are organized by Dr. Patrick Miller, astronomer at Global Hands-On Universe. In Poland, the Centre for Theoretical Physics PAS in Warsaw is the partner and co-ordinator of the campaign.

"All schools participating in the campaign have performed observations confirming the orbits of asteroids approaching the Earth (the so-called Near Earth Objects), which is important from the point of view of potential asteroid collision with the Earth. Such measurements allow a better determination of the orbit of the asteroid, so we can make sure that it will hit the Earth" - explained the Centre for Theoretical Physics director Dr. Lech Mankiewicz in a release sent to PAP.

Of the 15 Polish schools, taking part in the campaign, 4 have discovered asteroids. These are: Municipal School No. 3 in Jasło, Secondary School No. 1 in Bydgoszcz, School No. 10 in Toruń and Secondary School No. 10 in Poznań.

According to Mankiewicz, the most interesting discovery of a Trojan asteroid has been made by students of School No. 10 in Toruń, under the supervision of their teacher, Prof. Bogdan Sobczuk. "It is kind of a birthday present for the twentieth anniversary of the school" - said the Centre for Theoretical Physics director.

The project called "All-Poland Asteroid Search Campaign" took place this September and October. Students analysed images from a telescope with a diameter of about 81 cm, belonging to the Astronomical Research Institute in the U.S.

"The discovery of a new asteroid candidate must then be confirmed by independent observations. Precise orbit determination can take up to several years, if successful, the discoverer will have the right to name the new celestial object. To date, students from three Polish schools had the opportunity"- Lech Mankiewicz explained in September.

The campaign participants were selected schools in Bydgoszcz, Grudziądz, Inowrocław, Jankowice, Jasło, Niedźwiedź, Poznań, Sierpc, Skoki, Tczew, Toruń, Warsaw and Żywiec.

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