A young Bulgarian astronomer has discovered a new asteroid, now about 450 million km from Earth, Bulgarian National Television reported on April 11 2011.

Sоunaи Ibryamov from Shoumen University, the only Bulgarian in Nasa's Pan-STARRS programme, which scans the heavens in the search for new asteroids, is set to graduate with a degree astronomy this year, but is already working part-time at the National Observatory, BNT reported.

Ibryamov said that he was receiving images from a telescope in Hawaii, which were then processed and studied in Bulgaria at the observatory on Peak Rozhen.

"The images were sent to me from the Hawaii telescope. I was supposed to process the images and this is when I found the asteroid," he told BNT. The asteroid was part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The asteroid now will be monitored and studied, after which Ibryamov will be able to name his discovery.

Asked how he felt about his discovery, an elated Ibryamov said that the feeling was "indescribable – one that can only be experienced".

Pan-STARRS stands for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System and its primary mission is to detect near-Earth objects that threaten impact events that can cause destruction on massive scale

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