Now That Is Cool:

WISN-TV reports:

Three Racine sophomore students were notified on Monday that a celestial body they discovered during a science project had been verified as an asteroid.

The students at Racine's Prairie School will be able to name the asteroid, temporarily identified as "2008 AZ28," in about four years, according to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., the international authority on known objects in the solar system.

Sophomores Connor Leipold, Tim Pastika and Kyle Simpson were able to make the discovery thanks to technology provided from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., which is also the alma mater of the science teacher, Andrew Vanden Heuvel, school spokeswoman Susan Paprcka said.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

From One of the High School Asteroid Discoverers:

I e-mailed Tim Pastika, one of the three high school sophomores who codiscovered a new asteroid, asking whether he wanted to say something about his project. He promptly responded:

Thank you. My classmates and I were recently given a choice between making a color picture (of nebulas, stars, etc.) or looking for new asteroids. Personally I thought that searching for asteroids would be so much cooler than making a picture because we might actually discover something new. However, many of the classmates were scared off by the thought of extra homework. The funny thing is we probably had to do less work than any of the other students.

When we discovered the asteroid, my friends and I -- to tell you the truth -- didn't think much of it. We were really just searching for faint moving dots.... Then we found out how extremely rare for us high school students to find these kinds of things. Astronomy is definitely something I would consider doing in the future; it's great.

P.S. I am not sure if it is official yet, but we are pretty sure we have found THREE more undiscovered asteroids.

In any case, congratulations again to Pastika, Connor Leipold, and Kyle Simpson -- good work!

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