Wednesday, May 6, 2015 12:00am -0400

Boy Saves World One Asteroid at a Time.

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15 year old Aryan Mishra 15 year old Aryan Mishra Aryan Mishra

Okay, maybe the title sounds a little far fetched, but maybe it's not really, if you think about it. Recently we shared the inspiring story of a bright young man, Aryan Mishra, 14 at the time, who help discover asteroids. Last year he and two other students discovered two previously unknown asteroids. Astronomers have been enlisting citizen scientist from all over the world to help find these objects that may or may not come close to Earth. Researchers have identified roughly 10,000 near Earth objects but they believe there could be millions more. It seems like every other month we see news about an asteroid passing near the moon and our fragile world. Some sneak up by surprise like the fireball that exploded without warning over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013. While NASA is searching for the majority of these NEO our planet needs all the help we can get. 

Aryan has been very busy in the last few months hosting live astronomy talks with young students across the globe. I was curious and asked him “Well, how and why did you discover an asteroid anyway?” Here is Aryan’s answer in his own words:

A large group of material bodies traveling in space is the Asteroids, also called Planetoids. They orbit between a broad zone of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids consist of pieces of rocks and broken up pieces of planets. Most of them are too small to be seen from Earth, only four asteroids can be seen with a small telescope. These are named Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Juno. There are small asteroids and Trojan asteroids. The asteroid that I've discovered is small one which is between Mars and Jupiter.

 But how do you find an Asteroid?

Finding an object which is not visible and doesn't reflect much light is not simple. So, we need a big observatory to find it and a large range of telescopes. I used them to find an asteroid, they are 24, 50, 52 inch telescopes which are located in Arizona, USA. 

Okay, we got about the telescope, after that what to do? Now, we have to find that part of the sky where we can find new objects. After finding a suitable place now we can click the image of that part but CCD imaging, like time lapse video. 

After doing a lot work now we can find an asteroid but how?

 AyranThe software which I have used to find an asteroid is called Astrometrica, which was under licensed by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, USA, where the images were sent by Dr. Patrick Miller, Director, IASC. I was using the images in Astrometrica. There are possibly some objects in a particular image so I have to make reports on that then email it to Dr. Miller. If any new object is found then its a provisional discovery. If it is discovered then its  a Near Earth Object (NEO) observation which is helpful information because it shows the asteroid is alive which means the asteroid is still in solar system.

 Why did I want to find an asteroid?

It is all about Astronomy. We should discover the cosmos. Finding asteroids is really important for the solar system because 65 million years ago one struck the planet and dinosaurs left the Earth. They weren’t as intelligent as we are and had no way of knowing and protecting themselves. We do have the brains to save ourselves, but if we don’t use it we are not able to survive on Earth. So, lets Discover the Cosmos”

 Neil deGrasse Tyson has said: “Asteroids have us in our sight. The dinosaurs didn't have a space program, so they're not here to talk about this problem. We are, and we have the power to do something about it. I don't want to be the embarrassment of the galaxy, to have had the power to deflect an asteroid, and then not, and end up going extinct.”

To find out more about Aryan you can visit his facebook page and Twitter.

Read 3941 times Last modified on Monday, August 17, 2015 10:05pm -0400
Laurel Nendza

Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.