Work Experience Student Discovers Asteroids

Student Asteroids

First Posted: 01/09/11 12:13 Updated: 01/11/11 10:12

A sixth form student from Wales has uncovered more than 20 new asteroids and a comet while on a summer work experience placement.

Hannah Blyth from St Johns College, Cardiff made her discovery at the Faulkes Telescope Project at the University of Glamorgan.

The 18-year-old student, who was rather overwhelmed by the media attention the discovery brought her, said: “It’s amazing to be involved in something like this. I was busy carrying out observations for Nick and almost cut short the sequence of images of this particular comet as he had sent me another target to look at – I’m glad I didn’t change my plans!”

The comet observation project is being led by Nick Howes, a UK astronomer, and two of the world’s leading comet and asteroid imagers, Italians Giovanni Sostero and Ernesto Guido.

Martin Griffiths a senior lecturer in astronomy at the University of Glamorgan, was delighted with the 'remarkable' discovery.

“Hannah’s discovery of new Asteroids is a significant step in understanding our solar system," he said. "Such bodies are remote and little studied, so this find places another brick in the wall of scientific knowledge. It is all the more remarkable that she has achieved this at a young age. This detection is representational of the scientific possibilities open to young people today who are fortunate to have access to technology such as the Faulkes Telescopes via the University of Glamorgan and through their schools.”

Hannah, who has returned to school this week, was imaging Comet 213P Van Ness at the time, when she spotted the "broken comet".

Blyth's placement was organised by Nuffield Foundation which funds 1000 bursaries for undergraduate students interested in studying science.

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Filed by Melanie Hick  |