Two students of Delhi Public School, R.K.Puram, Pratham Alag and Rishabh Jain have brought great pride to the nation by making the provisional discovery of the Main Belt Asteroid 2012 PC6 on the 11th of August, 2012. They did this whilst participating in the All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC) 2012 which is organized by S.P.A.C.E. and the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) across the globe each year. In addition, they also made a preliminary discovery of the main belt asteroid AVK0039 in the campaign which started on the 9th of July 2012 and went on up till the 13th of August 2012.
The participating students download image sets of the sky from high resolution telescopes in U.S.A or Mexico and subsequently analyze them for traces of Near Earth Objects (NEOs). Pratham and Rishabh also made a total of 11 NEO Observations, which are the third or fourth sightings of an NEO. They linked their provisional discovery to its temporary name, ‘DPS0001’. The discoverers will now be asked to propose a name for the asteroid to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the next 3-5 years. Extremely excited about the discovery, the students said,” The fact that we made a provisional discovery was unbelievable. The collaboration between S.P.A.C.E. and IASC in organizing AIASC each year has indeed gone a long way in promoting the astronomical interest of high school students.”
The two students owe their success in the campaign to the innumerable opportunities provided to them by their school and to the guidance provided by the Principal, Dr. D.R.Saini and their coordinator, Mr. Subodh Kumar.