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Asteroid named for Texas high school

Dec. 7, 2012 at 6:24 PM   |   Comments

MADISON, Texas, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Madisonville High School in Texas has a rare honor to brag about: It has had an asteroid millions of miles from Earth named for it, school officials said.

269323 Madisonvillehigh, which orbits 300 million miles from our planet, was named for the school, which had signed up for a program called the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, ABC News reported.

The program is directed by Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, which sent telescope images shot for research to Madisonville High astronomy teacher Denise Rothrock, who started a morning astronomy club to analyze them.

"A good program that gets middle schoolers to come in before school starts? That's worth doing," Rothrock said in an interview with ABC News.

Rothrock's students saw an object change position in a series of the telescope images and sent the results of their study to the International Astronomical Union, which confirmed the moving object as an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

As discoverers of the asteroid the students had the privilege of proposing a name.

So charts of the solar system will now show an asteroid dubbed 269323 Madisonvillehigh in orbit.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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