ES Asteroid Hunters!
The English School Astronomy Club is very excited to announce the preliminary discovery of 2 main belt asteroids by our students.
The discovery happened during April 2017 as part of Global Astronomy Month, a worldwide celebration of astronomy organised by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). The English School was one of only 30 schools worldwide that had the chance to participate in the project after a successful proposal by the Cyprus AWB National Coordinator, Mr George Troullias, director of the KITION PLANETARIUM & OBSERVATORY.
A dedicated team of English School students spent hours hunting for asteroids, which are chunks of rock, hurtling through space. Most asteroids orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter, and studying them allows scientists to find out important clues in the formation of our solar system. Now two of them will always have a connection to The English School.
The asteroids preliminarily named ESN0001 and ESN0004 were discovered in a set of images by 6th former Hrachya Zakaryan. Students were sent images from a telescope operated by the University of Hawaii’s Astronomy Institute, on East Maui Volcano. Their telescope points at the celestial plane and is at high altitude thus takes very clear pictures.
"Firstly we open the images into a special software package provided, we then look at the images in quick succession to see if we can spot something moving" Hrachya explains modestly. "If we spot something against the background stars, look carefully at its characteristics, then send a report to a centre in Texas, they in turn double-check it and report it to the international Minor Planet Center database."
“A BIG well done to the students of The English School for their asteroid discovery and their contribution to science; it really shows the high standard of education at the school, and the high calibre of the students.” said Mr Troullias. “We would like to thank Ms Katie Demetriou and her team for the perfect cooperation and we are looking forward to working together in future projects.”
Hrachya will have the chance to name his two asteroids in 24 months, when the International Astronomical Union in Paris reconfirms the discovery and records it in the world’s official minor planet catalogue.