Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya, students of class 10th in Surat, were working on a school project when they discovered an asteroid.
The girls had taken part in a Space India and NASA project that gives a chance for students to analyze images taken from a telescope which is positioned at the University of Hawaii.
DISCOVERY ALERT!— SPACE India (@Spacian) July 25, 2020
We are proud to announce VAIDEHI VEKARIYA SANJAYBHAI and RADHIKA LAKHANI PRAFULBHAI, two students of P.P. SAVANI CHAITANYA VIDYA SANKUL (CBSE) from Surat with the help of SPACE-AIASC discovered a new Asteroid which is a Near-Earth Object named HLV2514. pic.twitter.com/HXpOvrwxNY
While participating, they ended up discovering an asteroid which they named HLV2514. It is said that the asteroid is slowly shifting its orbit and is moving towards earth.
Aakash Dwivedi, a senior educator and astronomer at Space India shared that students all over India were taught how to spot celestial bodies using software that analyzes images collected by the PAN Star telescope. Post this, students had to look for moving objects present in the images.
We started the project in June and we sent back our analysis a few weeks ago to NASA. On July 23, they sent us an email confirming that we had identified a near-Earth object.
- Vaidehi Vekariya
Aakash also shared that HLV2514, at the moment, is close to Mars' orbit. In 1 million years, it will change its orbit and move closer to Earth.
Even in that case, the asteroid will still have 10 times more distance than between the Earth and the Moon. He also added that:
Asteroids are taken very seriously by NASA. Since this asteroid is changing its orbit it has become news.
As mentioned by Vekariya, the students were not able to celebrate this discovery given that the whole world is fighting a pandemic but shared that:
This was a dream. I want to become an astronaut. It is such a vast topic. There is no limit to search in space, especially the black hole theory.
These girls have proven that age is just a number when it comes to making discoveries and following ones dreams.