18.07.2012 change 18.07.2012

Three new asteroids were given Polish names

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Three asteroids orbiting in space received official names from the International Astronomical Union. The names are associated with Poland: Iwanowska, Sierpc and LechMankiewicz.

Asteroids LechMankiewicz and Sierpc were discovered by students from Toruń and Sierpc in the International Asteroid Search Campaigns (IASC). The work of students was supervised by teachers Bogdan Sobczuk from Toruń and Józef Urbański from Sierpc.

Asteroid (199 950) Sierpc derives its name from the town in Masovia. The object was discovered on April 16, 2007; it orbits the Sun every 3.74 years.

(273377) LechMankiewicz is the name of Lech Mankiewicz, the current director of the Centre for Theoretical Physics PAS, popularizer of science, active in many educational projects, including his role as the coordinator of Hands-On Universe, Polska. Mankiewicz also co-organizes asteroid search projects.

The asteroid 273377 was discovered on February 7, 2010. It orbits the Sun every 5.26 years. The name was proposed by students from Stefan Banach School No. 10 and Kazimierz Jagiellończyk High School No.7 in Toruń, who took part in the asteroid search project.

"When we received the right to name the discovered asteroids, we compiled a list of 12 proposals, which we they shortened. For a time, Adam Malysz was among the potential names. Ultimately, we decided to Lech Mankiewicz, the man that made it possible for Polish students to participate in asteroid search projects" - said Bogdan Sobczuk of School No. 10 in Toruń.

In addition to two asteroids named by the students from Toruń and Sierpc, there will be another connected with Poland in the sky: (198820) Iwanowska, named in honour of Prof. Wilhelmina Iwanowska (1905-1999), who after World War II created astronomy at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Iwanowska was also vice-president of the International Astronomical Union in the years 1973 - 1979.

The asteroid 198820 was discovered on March 13, 2005 by K. Cernis and J. Zdanavicius in Moletai Astronomical Observatory in Lithuania. Its orbital period is 5.26 years.

The names of all three asteroids were officially announced by International Astronomical Union in the Minor Planet Circulars on July 3, 2012

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