New Asteroid Discovery Honors Local Hardin Simmons Professor [VIDEO]
The asteroid first labeled “Asteroid 4984″ has been named in honor of a local Harden Simmons University professor. Dr. Patrick Miller, has been singly responsible for inspiring and guiding many high school and college students into the field of astrological studies. “Patrick Miller” is the new name for an asteroid orbiting in our solar system. It’s not close enough to be seen by the naked eye. However, the asteroid now known as the “Patrick Miller” is orbiting just beyond the planet Mars. The Minor Planet Center officially named the asteroid in honor of the work done by Dr. Miller at Hardin-Simmons University in 2009.
Atul Felix Payapilly, a student at Karunya University near Coimbatore, India, surprised his adviser with the news that he and a friend, had jointly discovered an asteroid while participating in a program based in the United States. The discovery by Payapilly and Zhang will be on provisional status for several years as Main Belt asteroid 2010 RR52, as it is currently called and is being fully tracked.
Dr. Patrick Miller is the founder of the International Asteroid Search Collaboration where students from around the world discover new asteroids. Some of the student asteroid discoveries are so close to Earth that they are considered as new threats to our planet. Miller started the educational outreach program, based at the Holland School of Mathematics and Sciences on the HSU campus, in October 2006. Dr. Miller and undergraduate honors student Jeff Davis founded the program, starting with five schools from around the United States. The program has expanded greatly. It now includes over 300 schools and more than 4,000 students participating in asteroid searches encompassing more than 30 countries on five continents.
The program is provided at no cost to the participating high schools and colleges. Students now have the opportunity to search for previously unknown objects near-Earth and are instrumental in discovering more than 300 previously unknown asteroids, which eventually receive an official number and are recorded by the International Asteroid Search Collaboration with the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University.
Is it possible that an asteroid big enough to destroy the world is out there? These young HSU star gazers just might help us discover said asteroid or track the ones they know of, long before it can do Earth any harm. What do you think?