A Swiss amateur astronomer claimed Wednesday that he has discovered two new asteroids among the hundreds of thousands between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The asteroids identified by Jose De Queiroz have a diameter of between 1 kilometer and 2 kilometers, said a statement Mirasteilas observatory, which he runs.
The Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union in Cambridge, Massachusetts, confirmed that the previously unrecorded asteroids were spotted by De Queiroz and registered in March as 2009FM1 and 2009FA1.
"They're perfectly ordinary objects and intrinsically very faint," said Bryan Marsden, a scientist at the center.
De Queiroz will have to observe the same asteroids annually over the next four years to confirm the discovery, Marsden said.
"They've only been observed this year," he said.
Marsden said many of the asteroids in the main belt have been recorded, but amateur astronomers around the world still occasionally chance upon new ones. He said De Queiroz used a large telescope, enabling him to make out small asteroids.
The observatory in east Switzerland said De Queiroz would like to name the asteroids 'Falera,' after the site of his observatory, and 'Marcia,' after his daughter.
But Marsden said: "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."
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