Delta State University Advanced Astronomy students were recently announced the winners of the International Asteroids Search Campaign (IASC) coordinated by NASA after discovering more celestial bodies than any other participating university or college.
Led by Mariusz Kukawa, official coordinator of IASC for Delta State University, students Jared Martin, Corey Clark, Harold (Miles) Duke, Jeremiah Matthews, Bryce Anderson, Taylor Whyte and Nicholas Zorn discovered five new asteroids and confirmed four other previously discovered asteroids. Traditionally, newly discovered asteroids or comets are named by discoverers (in addition to the official astronomical catalogue name). Proposals for names, given by the students, for these newly discovered objects are Liberty, American Dreams, Apollo 21, Optimus Prime, and Gniezno after the first Polish capitol. Never before have this many new objects been discovered by Delta State students in such a short time.
Delta State students have had success participating in the IASC over the years. There were six new asteroids discovered, and the existence of 10 previously found asteroids were confirmed between the Fall 2009 and Spring 2013 Semesters. The first two asteroids discovered by the students in 2010 were named DSU and Cleveland MS.
During the Fall 2012 semester, William Farabee, Steven Simmons, Kambria Jones, Marvin Strotter, Fraser Pain, Aaron Taylor, Jack Pilley, Vlad Zinka, and Robert Robinson discovered two new asteroids and confirmed the existence of four previously known objects. These two new objects were named Okra and Mississippi.