Two class 10 girls studying in a Surat school have recently discovered a Near Earth Object (NEO) asteroid, now named HLV 2514, in the Mars orbit. The students are Radhika Lakhani and Vaideshi Vekarya of PP Savani Chaitanya Vidya Sankul in Surat. The discovery has been confirmed by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and the International Astronomical Union, Akash Diwvedi, senior educator and astronomer in SPACE organisation said.
The discovery took place as a part of an international campaign – a 2-month science programme being held at their CBSE school. It was conducted by Space India in collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and Hardin Simmons University in Texas.
The students used the Pan Starrs advanced telescope in Hawaii which has high-grade CCD cameras, and a higher field of view for their asteroid discovery. As a part of the All India Space Search Campaign 2020, over 175 students from different schools in Gujarat participated in the International Science Program.
Radhika and Vaidehi were selected by the teachers to be a part of SPACE organisation where they received training by senior educators in June.
Radhika said, “We have made the discovery by analysing the datasets provided on the Astometrica software. Later, two more persons had also discovered same object. Finally, our discovery was termed as conceived discovery. It is a Near Earth Object moving in the orbit of Mars and such objects are rarely found. Till now, there are around 63 discoveries of such asteroids. Since the last four years, this is the first such discovery and in Gujarat, it is for the first time.”
She added, “We got 14 such datasets of images and based on one of them, we found the moving object asteroid. We used HD laptops on which we carefully analysed images of the dataset. Once the object is discovered, a report is automatically generated and we have to name the asteroid and send an email to IASC. NASA representatives contacted us, asking about our discovery.”
Vaidehi Vekarya said, “We are very happy with the discovery as we have not only made our school prod but our parents too. We both have planned to take courses in Astronomy and do Space research.
Source: The Indian ExpressNational, News