this is his story – FayerWayer

Nicole Oliveira has toys around her, posters of the Solar System on her walls, and gazes up at the stars. This 8-year-old Brazilian is the youngest astronomer in the world.

Born in Maceió, capital of the state of Alagoas in Brazil, she belongs to the Asteroid Hunters program, promoted by NASA so that citizens can help locate space rocks. According to Nicole, she has already discovered 18, although confirmation from the North American agency is awaited.

The AFP she talked with the little girl and her parents about her trade, far from being a girl’s game.

“We understood that this passion for astronomy was serious when he asked us for a telescope as a gift for his fourth birthday,” his mother, Zilma Janaca, told the news agency. “I didn’t even really know what a telescope was,” he jokes.

At the age of seven, he finally got his dream gift. Today, in addition to the telescope, he has a computer with two large screens, where he spends his time studying images of the night sky.

Asteroid Hunters is run by the program International Astronomical Search Collaboration (International Astronomical Search Collaboration), where each affiliated person, after fulfilling a series of requirements, can join. The Brazilian Ministry of Science works in conjunction with NASA.

The little astronomer and her studies

Nicole has a scholarship at a private school in the city of Fortaleza, in the northeast of Brazil. There he moved with his family to be able to attend classes. She wants to be an aerospace engineer and build rockets when she grows up, as well as getting to know the Kennedy Space Center in the United States.

He recently met the only Brazilian who has gone into space, Marcos Pontes, who is currently the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the government of Jair Bolsonaro.

Nicole Oliveira in photo by AFP

Most of the members of Asteroid Hunters belong to high schools, colleges and universities. When they detect a space rock, confirmation can take up to five years. There, astronomers can name them.

Nicole hopes to give her family names.

Nicole Oliveira in photo by AFP

“She really has extraordinary vision,” Heliomarzio Rodrigues Moreira, Michel’s astronomy professor, told AFP. “He immediately detects spots in the images that look like asteroids, and he often advises his classmates when they are not sure they have actually found any.”

The record for precocious asteroid discovery is held by Italian amateur astronomer Luigi Sannino. At the age of 18, he saw two rocks confirmed as asteroids in 1998 and 1999.

Now Nicole confirming her findings to break this record.