As part of the All India Space Search Campaign, 2020, two girl students Radhika Lakhani and Vaideshi Vekarya of PP Sawani School, Surat, have discovered an asteroid that will pass by Earth as confirmed by NASA. Students discover asteroid named HLV2514 is in the Mars orbit. The discovery has been confirmed by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and International Astronomical Union.
In the All India Space Search Campaign conducted by SPACE/India, SPACE/Surat, in cooperation with IASC and Hardin Simmons University, Texas, close to 175 students had participated belonging from different schools in Gujarat.
“We had tagged around 20 objects of which this one proved lucky. We have given it a random name at present, and we may get an opportunity to name the asteroid once its orbit is confirmed by NASA. It may, however, take a few years’ time,” confirmed Radhika and Vaideshi in an interview with TOI.
“We are proud to announce that two girls from Surat with the help of SPACE-All India Asteroid Search Campaign discovered a new Asteroid which is a Near-Earth Object,” Space India posted on its social media handles.
The discovery was made by analysing the datasets that were made available on the Astomtrica software. In Gujarat, Radhika and Vaidehi set the record of discovering a celestial object for the first time although there are 63 such discoveries accomplished in the last four years.
“Both these students had discovered near earth object (NEO) asteroid. At present, it is lying in the orbit of Mars but it will change its path. After 10 lakh years, it can also come close to Earth. After the training, we give students images taken by Pan-Starrs telescope in Hawaii in the USA. The students use advanced software techniques to look for Asteroids. The Pan Starrs has an advanced telescope and camera system, state-of-the -art CCD cameras, which have higher field of view with ability to see fainter objects. The participant students search for asteroids under programs initiated by the NASA and Jet Propulsion lab that tract and monitor asteroids, looking for ones that my get perturbed out of their orbits and pose a threat to Earth,” clarified Akash Diwvedi, Senior Faculty and Astronomer, SPACE.