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Space Education Science

High School Sophomores Discover Asteroid 126

Posted by kdawson
from the october-sky dept.
Several readers sent us the story of three high school sophomores in Racine, Wisconsin who were just notified that a celestial body they had discovered during a science project has been verified as an asteroid. The students at Racine's Prairie School will be given the opportunity to name the asteroid in about four years. They used a telescope in New Mexico, belonging to a college in Michigan, that they controlled over the Net.
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High School Sophomores Discover Asteroid

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  • Why wait 4 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loibisch (964797) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @06:53AM (#22064624)
    Can anyone please explain to me please why they can name "their" asteroid in about 4 years? I mean, it's cool to wait a little to make sure everything is alright and this wasn't just speck dust on the lens...but 4 years seems a long time to peer-verify something like this and give them permission to name it.

    Also: I suppose those guys must ace all those two-picture "spot the 10 differences" tests after this...
  • by RuBLed (995686) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:02AM (#22064670)
    Hmmm.. maybe it got something to do with the estimated 5yr orbit of the asteroid. One has to be sure that it is a unique one and not another one that strayed from its recorded orbit. (by collision with another asteroid)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:41AM (#22064842)

    One has to be sure that it is a unique one and not another one that strayed from its recorded orbit. (by collision with another asteroid)
    I am not familiar with the system of naming, but how do they refer to the asteroid now? Whether or not it is unique seems irrelevant, since they still have to call it something. Presumably it's something like 'Asteroid ABCXYZ-31415' or something like that. So why can't they give it the name they want, and if it turns out not be unique, they just say "Asteroid PrincipleSkinnerBlimp turned out not be unique" as opposed to "Asteroid ABCXYZ-31415 turned out not to be unique"?
  • by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:21AM (#22065052)

    The students also located other potential objects that may be asteroids, and are currently conducting follow-up research.

    this leaves with the impression this guys just got lucky. It's like they identified each faint dot as an asteroid, and one just turned out to be exactly that. I imagine they just pointed at each dot

    Students:Is this an asteroid?
    someone knowledgeable:No
    Students:Is this an asteroid?
    someone knowledgeable:No
    Students:Is this an asteroid?
    someone knowledgeable:No..wait Yes
    Students: Ha we are smart!

    However I do give the students credit for initiative, it's refreshing to see that some kids still have interest in science (other then computing)

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