Indian Two Schoolgirls Discover an Earth-Orbiting Asteroid
Two Indian schoolgirls have discovered an asteroid that is spinning at a very low speed on its axis and also revolving around the Earth. News CNN.
Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vikaria, two 10th grade students, working in a school project, discovered the asteroid and named it “HLV2514”.
Their home is in Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat. They were assigned to analyze telescope images in a project by Space India and NASA at the University of Hawaii.
They were analyzing stunning summer images of Saturn by the Hubble Telescope.
Akash Dwivedi, a senior educationist and astronomer at Space India, told CNN that Indian students are taught how to identify different objects in the sky by analyzing images collected by NASA’s Pan Star Telescope using the software. The students then look for two moving objects in the picture.
Dwivedi explained that the project was aimed at engaging and educating students in science and astronomy.
Fifteen years old, Vekaria and her partner Radhika Lakhani told CNN, “We started the project in June, and we sent our analysis to NASA a few weeks ago.
On July 23rd, they sent us an email confirming that we had identified an object near Earth.”
Dwivedi explains that the asteroid is currently close to the orbit of Mars – but in 1 million years, it will change its orbit and move closer to Earth, even though it is ten times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
“NASA took the planet very seriously,” says Dwivedi. “It has become news since this asteroid is changing its orbit,”
Asteroids are known as tiny planets. Planets made of rock orbit the sun.
Vikaria said, “Students could not celebrate the discovery due to the pandemic, but: “It was a dream. I want to be an astronaut. Space is so vast that there is no limit to its exploration, especially of black hole theory.”