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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 3, 2008
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Polish Students Help Discover an Asteroid
December 3, 2008   
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Students from High School No. 13 in the northwestern Polish city of Szczecin, who took part in the International Asteroid Search Campaign organized by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Astronomical Research Institute based in Charleston, Illinois, discovered an asteroid on the Main Asteroid Belt, the region of the solar system located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter and occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets.

This is not the first asteroid discovery of the Polish students since they had already found several last year and in the first half of this year. Their latest discovery is the result of work for a campaign that began in early October this year. The campaign's aim is to discover as yet unknown small objects within the solar system. These objects, not very large asteroids in particular, are closely watched to establish if they pose any potential threat to the Earth. Their orbits are checked to ensure that they are unlikely to hit our planet at any time in the future.

Krzysztof Będkowski and Jakub Zaborowski are the two students who discovered planetoid K08SK9B Oct. 6. They worked under the guidance of their physics and astronomy teacher, Tomasz Skowron.

Patrick Miller from the Astronomical Research Institute, who is the main coordinator of the International Asteroid Search Campaign, has confirmed the discovery. Details of the new asteroid will be passed on to Harvard University's Minor Planet Center, which collects information on small bodies within the solar system for the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and NASA.

The International Asteroid Search Campaign, also known as the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, is an educational outreach program for high schools and colleges, provided at no cost to the participating schools.

The Astronomical Research Institute is a not-for-profit research organization geared toward education in the field of near-Earth objects and near-Earth object observations conducted under NASA's Near Earth Object Observation Program.

Observations of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are important to the astronomical community to determine the potential impact hazard these asteroids pose to Earth.
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