June 3, 2009
Two New Asteroids Spotted By Amateur Swiss Astronomer
Swiss astronomer Jose De Queiroz on Wednesday announced the discovery of two new asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
According to the Mirasteilas Observatory, De Queiroz has located two new asteroids with a diameter of between 1 kilometer and 2 kilometers.
According to the Associated Press, the discovery of 2009FM1 and 2009FA1 was confirmed by the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union in Cambridge, Massachusetts in March.
"They're perfectly ordinary objects and intrinsically very faint," said Bryan Marsden, of the Minor Planet Center.
Marsden added that De Queiroz would have to continue to observe the two new asteroids for the next four years in order to confirm their existence.
"They've only been observed this year," he said.
The newly discovered asteroids are just two out of hundreds of thousands currently falling between the two planets. Marsden said many of the asteroids around the main belt have been documented, but amateur astronomers like De Queiroz continue to find new ones.
De Queiroz hopes to name the asteroids 'Falera,' after the site of his observatory, and 'Marcia,' after his daughter.
"If the observations are just over the course of a month or two, that's not enough for us to accept the names that he's proposing," said Marsden.
Image Caption: The asteroid 951 Gaspra, the first ever imaged by a spacecraft, taken by Galileo as it passed by it in 1991; the colors are exaggerated. NASA
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