Two Indian school girls discover new asteroid making its way to Earth


By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: July 28, 2020 8:21:12 pm

Asteroid, Mars, Space Exploration, SPACE India, Astronauts, New Asteroid discovered, Asteroid heading for Earth, Pan-STARRS telescope, HLV2514, stars, Comets Both the girls used specialised software for analysing the images taken by the Pan-STARRS telescope. (Image: SPACE India)

A new Earth-bound asteroid has been discovered by two school girls from Surat, Gujarat. According to SPACE India, the girls discovered the asteroid by poring through images from a University of Hawaii telescope. Both the girls — Vaidehi Vekariya and Radhika Lakhani — aged 14 have received training from SPACE India, a private Space institute.

Both the girls used specialised software for analysing the images taken by the Pan-STARRS telescope. The discovery was made back in June.

The asteroid called HLV2514 is near Mars. It will officially be christened after NASA confirms its orbit, a SPACE India spokeswoman told Reuters. Vaidehi Vekariya says that she is looking forward to getting a chance to name the asteroid. She also adds that she wants to become an astronaut as a professional.

Both the girls discovered the asteroid as part of an asteroid search campaign, which was conducted by SPACE India in collaboration with the NASA-affiliated citizen scientist group, International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC).

Explained: What is 163348 (2002 NN4), the Asteroid that made a close approach to Earth?

IASC Director J Patrick Miller confirmed the discovery made by the girls according to an email seen by Reuters.

Asteroids and comets pose big threat to the Earth. In 2013, an asteroid weighing more than the Eiffel Tower exploded over central Russia, injuring over 1,000 people with its shockwave. Scientists discover thousands of asteroids and comets every passing year, but the HLV2514 is not a threat. The asteroid is currently orbiting near Mars and will take around a million years to cross into the orbit of Earth.

Also Read: Asteroid’s pictures go viral after it looks like it’s ‘wearing a mask’

Many asteroids crash into each other and become small in size. And many of them even enter the Earth’s atmosphere, however, burn up completely mid-flight, due to the friction.

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