Two teenage girls from India have discovered an Earth-bound asteroid that is slowly shifting its orbit and moving towards Earth.
The asteroid is currently close to the orbit of Mars but it will change its orbit and move closer to Earth in about one million years, according to SPACE India, a private institute where the two 10th grade girls received training.
Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya were working on a school project when they discovered the asteroid, which they named HLV2514. The asteroid may be officially christened only after NASA confirms its orbit, a SPACE India spokeswoman said.
“I look forward to… when we will get a chance to name the asteroid,” said Vekariya, who added that she wants to become an astronaut when she is older.
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
— SPACE India (@Spacian) July 25, 2020
The two girls, who hail from the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat, discovered the object as part of an asteroid search campaign conducted by SPACE India along with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), a NASA-affiliated citizen scientist group.
The program allows students to use specialized software to analyze images taken by the Pan-STARRS telescope positioned at the University of Hawaii, SPACE India said.