Astronomers from all over Pakistan have discovered 14 new possible asteroids under an international program that are in constant orbit between the planets Mars and Jupiter.
Astronomers from all over Pakistan have discovered 14 new possible asteroids under an international program that are in constant orbit between the planets Mars and Jupiter.US space agency NASA and International Astronomical Research Collaboration (IASC) organizes this Citizen Science Engagement program every year to engage young people with a passion for astronomy in meaningful research.
The International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) is a citizen science program that provides high-quality astronomical data to citizen scientists around the world. These citizen scientists are able to make original astronomical discoveries and participate in hands-on astronomy. This service is provided at no cost. Asteroid Search Campaigns are the primary focus of IASC.
It should be noted that there is a public participation program in science and astronomy in which many countries participate every year, but for the first time Pakistan has joined this campaign under the name of ‘All Pakistan Asteroid Search Campaign’ (APASC).
Under this, these discoveries have been made in which 40 male and female students from across Pakistan were involved.
This time, Mohammad Rahmuz Salahuddin Ayub, a student of aerospace engineering at the Institute of Space Technology (IST) in Islamabad, tried to formally join Pakistan and thus APASC was founded. In which a total of 40 people participated.
All individuals identified potential asteroids from October 21 to November 15 using the provided data sets and software.
Asteroid discovery process
But the question arises that how can one find out at home whether there is an asteroid or not?
Experts regularly provide training for this, for which a software called Astrometrica is provided. Astrometrica contains several scientific parameters based on which the students inferred whether it could be an asteroid or not.
Thus, the very small bodies of the solar system, i.e. comets, asteroids, or dwarf planets, are identified and classified based on their physical properties.
The discovery of 14 asteroids by Pakistan for the first time is welcome and it is hoped that they will further expand their experience.
On the other hand, the students of Pakistani schools, universities and colleges got to learn new information, practical astronomy and new arts that can boost their self-esteem. Its data is obtained from the famous astronomical telescope located in the American island of Hawaii.
It should be noted that earlier Muhammad Rahmuz had participated with the Indian team in 2021 along with his three Pakistani colleagues and discovered a total of five asteroids which is also an important development. Along with Muhammad Rahmuz Ayub, Dalaviz Sagheer, Faryal Batul and Nauman Rauf from Pakistan who were also certified by NASA and IASC are featured in the above image. All these scholars are active members of IST’s Space Society and have also published the first journal on astronomy in Pakistan, ‘Cosmic Herald’.
An instructional video has also been made in Urdu language for using Astrometrica in which Nauman Rauf, Faryal Batul and Dalaviz Sagheer have played prominent roles.
Talking to the media, Mohammad Rahmuz said that ‘Pakistani students have made 14 discoveries in the asteroid belt. It will now be examined by experts for a year, in which the movement of space bodies, orbits and other issues will be evaluated and if it is indeed a real asteroid, it will be upgraded to provisional status.
The asteroid will then be studied for another eight to ten years, and if it meets all the criteria, it will be added to the catalog of the Minor Planet Center at the International Astronomical Organization (IAU)-authorized Smithsonian Observatory.
The discoverer will then have the right to name the asteroid as he wishes.
Previously, teams from around the world including India, Poland and Bangladesh have participated in IASC and for the first time a team of amateur astronomers from Pakistan including Attock Astronomical Society headed by Nasir Rizwan and other associations have joined.
It is hoped that Pakistan’s efforts will bear fruit, but it will have to wait for another year.
Introduction to Asteroid Belt
Between the planets Mars and Jupiter in our solar system, millions upon billions of small and large bodies are rotating together like children in a park on a round swing.
There are small and large planets and asteroids, among them is the dwarf planet Sirius, which has a diameter of 950 km.
However, experts want to investigate each possible asteroid and that is why they are being researched and classified using different software.
It should be noted that there are also bodies in the form of rocky dust which have the size of a particle.
Originally published at Pipa News