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Home » News » Tracking an Asteroid in Boulder, Colorado

Tracking an Asteroid in Boulder, Colorado

For many of us, the summer break is a time to relax with family and friends, do a bit of traveling, and to take in some of life’s simple pleasures. For Pranav G12, however, it was a time to track an asteroid for five weeks in an elite University of Colorado, Boulder program. Pranav joined a group of 36 rising Grade 12 students that studied “such topics as spherical trigonometry, computer programming, differential and integral calculus and sky positioning as it pertains to astronomical observation.” –Program Director Richard Bowdon



The findings were then added to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ Minor Planet Center. It was a great experience for Pranav getting to work alongside like-minded students in such a fantastic program. Reflecting on his experience, Pranav wrote a wonderful poem featured here:


We can feel the earth moving.


It’s only begun, barely a few days have passed.
But who knows how long these few, few weeks will last.
It’s not hard to make the most though –
all of us tied together, like
a sail to a mast.


Life is but a tapestry of transitory moments.
Crossing the zenith for an infinitesimally small and arbitrary amount of time.


Small points of light ever fading into the distance,
lost to all but those who work at it and treasure it

and it’s scary, because it looks so slow and goes so fast,

and means so much without inherently meaning anything at all.


Day after night after day after another night,
chasing after declining ascensions,
united we stand,
but the stars keep falling.


And beyond them, closer to us,
roam the small pieces of rock,
fluttering just ahead of them, ready to hurtle.


So many dangers surround,
in a vast big world,
and as we grow to reach the stars,
what’s around us can scare us.


So we track it.
Track it against the sheet of stars,
against the plane of the sun,
against ourselves (what else is there?)


– it makes it less scary after all.
and perhaps more beautiful

as the patterns swirl about each other,
centers of masses in so many classes,
every piece so integral.


For it’s the little things that count
the smaller they are,
the more magnitude they are of.


and we can feel the earth revolving,
because it is we who move in the face of giants
to understand the cosmos, and doing so,
are we not the ones who righteously ascend and ultimately
like all objects,
to decline?


Maybe not.
For we can leave our mark on this planet,
even if it is by taking a piece of its skies,
and understanding it in a way uniquely our own.


For we can feel the earth,
stealthily and quickly,