A 14-year old 10 class student of Mount Abu Public School recently discovered an asteroid designated as 2019 OR 19 P10PRwR in space at the All India Asteroid Search Campaign held in 2019. Nikhil Jha discovered the asteroid when he was 13 years (class 9) and became the youngest participant to do so last year.
It took a year of hard work for Nikhil and a strong mentorship by the Astronomy Faculty of Mount Abu Schools’ Astronomy Lab to make this achievement possible. His discovery has been provisionally approved by International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and will now be studied by other space agencies like NASA for future scientific reference.
In a telephonic conversation with EducationWorld, Nikhil said, “Space India’s International Astronomical Search Collaboration conducts the All India Asteroid Search Campaign, where around 300-400 schools and colleges participate each year. The Minor Planet Center (MPC) reports we make are then sent to the IASC, who reviews it and lets us know within a year if we have discovered any asteroid.”
Nikhil had a keen interest in astronomy since he was in junior school. He says, “While watching the stars and sky, I was always curious what is beyond this and what it is made of. I used to keep asking related questions to my teacher. Later, when the astronomy lab opened in my school, there was an astronomy club as well, where I actively participated. Then I learnt of the campaigns which I could participate in and possibly discover an asteroid. So that’s how I came to participate in the All India Asteroid Search Campaign.”
With this discovery Nikhil’s love and passion for astronomy has soared higher. Furthermore, he aims to glorify his dream not only in India but also aspires to pursue it in the global arena. He firmly believes that hard work is the only way to achieve one’s dreams.
Apart from excelling in academics Nikhil has several other achievements to his name which reflect his strong commitment and hard work. His noteworthy achievements include:
• 2nd prize in Annual Space Quiz Contest in 2019 conducted by Nehru Planetarium.
• 1st prize in activities conducted by Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam International Foundation.
• Qualified for Grand Finale of IILM Young Citizen Award For Innovation and Social Impact 2019 conducted by IILM University.
Besides this, Nikhil often likes to pass his leisure time by reading books and exploring Astronomy and Astro photography, Data Analytics and Robotics. Isaac Newton and Edwin Hubble are his source of inspiration.
On Nikhil’s achievement, Mount Abu Public School says it took more than an year of his hard work and the school’s Astronomy lab for the discovery.
“It was an amazing experience working through software. I am really glad that my school provided me with this opportunity. I feel very privileged for this opportunity given to me,” adds Nikhil.
After the coronavirus pandemic settles down, Nikhil also plans to teach rural kids about astronomy and inspire them to look up to the space. He aims to teach the lesser privileged kids on weekends.
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Sukanya NandyNational, News