In a proud moment for the India, two girls from Surat have discovered a near-Earth asteroid which has now been christened as 'HLV2514' by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The two 14-year-olds, Vaidehi Vekariya Sanjaybhai and Radhika Lakhani Prafulbhai, are from the city's P.P. Savani Chaitanya Vidya Sankul. They had participated in a two-month science programme called the ‘All India Asteroid Search Campaign 2020' which was conducted by SPACE India in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and Hardin Simmons University in Texas.
SPACE India took to its Facebook page and announced about the girls' discovery. In a "discovery alert" post, they said they 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.
"It is a near-Earth object (NEO) which is currently near the planet Mars, and over time (~10^6 years) will evolve into an Earth-crossing asteroid. We congratulate both the students and teachers for the tremendous discovery," they added. NASA has reportedly sent a confirmation mail about the discovery.
Reportedly, the girls used the Pan-STARRS telescope for their discovery. "This advanced telescope takes images of the asteroid with its high-grade CCD cameras, and higher Field of View. With its advanced camera settings, the telescope is extremely suited to see fainter objects out in the space,"a news report read.