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Still Waters

Children discover new comet on school trip

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Astronomy students at Wakefield's Horbury Academy were in Hawaii and Australia for two nights to stargaze through the remote Faulkes telescope as part of a GCSE project.

They focused their study on a space object that had been observed before as a possible asteroid but its classification had not been formally noted.

After studying the data, the group were able to rule out the space matter as an asteroid but also anything that had previously been discovered.

http://www.telegraph...chool-trip.html

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They focused their study on a space object that had been observed before as a possible asteroid but its classification had not been formally noted

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Hm, think the scientists were being nice and encouraging to the class, would seem strange if having being already spotted before it was then just ignored. It was not unobserved, but it could have been unnamed at the time...up til now.

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I bet those kids were buzzed, I know I would of been for months to come. Good for them.

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Hm, think the scientists were being nice and encouraging to the class, would seem strange if having being already spotted before it was then just ignored. It was not unobserved, but it could have been unnamed at the time...up til now.

Hm, I think you have absolutely no idea how many objects there are in space, how little time professionals have to dedicate to each and how many similar discoveries are made by amateurs and how such objects are named.

Time is limited on the large telescope that professionals use. They spend much of their time doing theoretical work or trying to answer the "big" cosmological questions. There are literally millions of small objects within the solar system.

When a small object is discovered it's orbit is defined and catalogued. If it is not a Near Earth Object and posses no threat to Earth it may then not be observed again by professionals for many years, if at all.

As a result much of the observing down of small objects is still done by the amateur community. Astronomy is the last bastion of the amateur scientist.

As for the naming of the object, asteroids and comets have different conventions. The object will have been given a provisional number and only given a permanent designation once its nature was determined.

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