Class XII students Shubham Sharma and Mayank Sharma may look like regular school boys, but their achievement has put them in the league of extraordinary. Astronomy buffs and students of Delhi's DAV Centenary School, Paschim Vihar, Shubham and Mayank have discovered a new asteroid, as part of the All India Asteroid Search Campaign 2012, reports Deccan Herald. Along with 75 other teams comprising two participants each from across the country were required to spot moving objects using a specialised software, which could be asteroids. The two boys spent three months, using exclusive data provided to them to do so. The students carried out the discovery under the guidance of Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).

Delhi boys discover new asteroid (Image credit: Getty Images)

Delhi boys discover new asteroid (Image credit: Getty Images)

Shubham and Mayank aren't strangers to accolades. The duo also won the Space Satellite Design contest organised by NASA last year, and since then their interest in space activities only grew. Their tasks, leading to their current discovery, involved analysing the data that was given to them by SPACE, each day for about 2-3 hours. They were also required to send a combined report based on the data each day. The boys were required to do this while being at their homes.  

Both Shubham and Mayank used a complex procedure called ‘Astrometrica’, using which they tracked moving objects by looking at the images of the sky provided by  24-inch and 32-inch telescopes at the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) Observatory located at Charleston, USA.

Discovering asteroids is important as it plays a crucial role in keeping a track of any threat that such objects pose in our solar system. Quoting Dr Mila Mitra, Scientific Officer, SPACE, the report further adds, “All data is sent to Minor Planet Centre (MPC). It is a great thing for students as they get to work parallelly with professional astron­o­m­ers. Asteroids are hard to search for and needs dedication and continuous efforts. Provisional discoveries are the asteroids which have been confirmed by further observations.” 

Mayank, who wants to be an astronaut, used to watch a lot of TV shows on asteroid and meteors and when this opportunity came his way, he put in all his efforts. Shubham, on the other hand, wants to pursue computer science engineering from IIT but shares Mayank's enthusiasm  in astronomy and space activities also. 

In February this year, we had reported how 18-year old, Aerospace Engineering student from Bengaluru, Sachin Kukke was hopeful of his experiment fetching him the top position at YouTube's Space Lab competition. Kukke's experiment was among the chosen six, from 60 such finalists that were uploaded on YouTube, which include Emerald Bresnahan of U.S, New Zealand duo Patrick Zeng and Derek Chan, Spaniard duo Laura Calvo and Maria Vilas, Egyptian Amr Mohammed and Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma of U.S. Sachin's experiment proposal, is reportedly the best to have come from the Asia Pacific region. 

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