An Indian space institute said on Monday, July 27, that two teenage girls have discovered an Earth-bound asteroid by poring through images from a University of Hawaii telescope. The two 14-year-old girls have received training from SPACE India, a private institute.
SPACE India has said that the asteroid is presently near Mars and its orbit is expected to cross that of Earth in about one million years' time.
"I look forward to when we will get a chance to name the asteroid," NDTV quoted Vaidehi Vekariya as saying. Growing up, Vaidehi wishes to become an astronaut.
Currently, the asteroid is called HLV2514. It will be officially christened after NASA confirms its orbit, a SPACE India spokeswoman said.
The other student, Radhika Lakhani, said that she is working very hard on her education. "I don't even have a TV at home so that I can concentrate on my studies," she said.
Thousands of asteroids and comets are discovered by scientists each year, and they pose a potential threat to earth.
Both the girls, who hail from Surat, discovered the object as part of an asteroid search campaign conducted by SPACE India along with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), which is a NASA-affiliated citizen scientist group.
The discovery was confirmed by IASC Director J Patrick Miller, according to an email he sent to the girls, seen by Reuters. Specialised software was used to analyse the images snapped by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. They made the discovery in June.
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