GNDU students brought laurels
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
Teams of SciRox, a student science club of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar under the able guidance and leadership of Prof (Dr.) Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, Prof(Dr.) Hardeep Singh, Dean Academic Affairs l, GNDU, Prof. (Dr.) Anish K. Dua, Dean, Student Welfare and Coordinator Dr. Bindiya Arora, has done 8 detections under a citizen science project in collaboration with IASC, NASA, Pan-Starrs and Catalina Sky Survey. Dr Arora congratulated the students for their feat. Three teams namely SciRox Team Andromedae, SciRox Team Centuri and SciRox Team Sirius, each having 5 students of BSc and MSc, participated in a month long CB Devgun Asteroid Search Campaign (28 Feb- 24 March, 2022). The participants were selected from an online assessment out of 200+student members of SciRox. Each participating team got login ID and password for analysing Image sets provided by the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii. The 1.8-m Pan-STARRS telescope located on Haleakalā takes images along the ecliptic where most asteroids are found.
Participating teams received these image sets through the IASC website and analyzed them at their homes using the software Astrometrica to search for asteroids. Throughout the campaign, each team received a total of 15-20 image sets on different days of the month. Students divided them amongst their team members and a report was always prepared in Astrometrica and submitted through the IASC website to be reviewed for possible detections.
SciRox Team Andromedae reported 4 preliminary discoveries, and team Centuri and Sirius reported 2 each, making a count of 8 successful detections.
Any moving object reported is named a Preliminary Discovery by the IASC. IASC then monitors the path of the object to confirm if the detected object is an asteroid. This process might take 1-5 years. After confirming, it is given the status of Provisional Discovery. The team then gets a chance to name the asteroid as per their choice.
The students are conferred a title of Citizen Scientists and will receive certificates from NASA for their preliminary discoveries of asteroids soon. recognition for provisional discoveries can take up to one year and for numbered discoveries.
This is the first time that some teams from the University have participated in the hand-on astronomy citizen- science project by NASA. All the three teams were registered by Dr Bindiya Arora and were coordinated by students of Department of Physics, Priyanka Sharma and Samreet Singh Dhillon.