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World’s Youngest Astronomer: Meet 8-Year-Old Brazilian Asteroid Hunter

An 8-year-old girl has already made an impressive opinion on the solar system even though she has stayed on planet Earth not too long.

Asteroid

(Photo : Getty Images)

World’s Youngest Astronomer

Nicole “Nicolinha” Oliveira who is from Brazil has been nicknamed the “world’s youngest astronomer.” 

In Nicolinha’s recent interview with AFP, she explained that she has already succeeded in discovering 18 preliminary detections that have a high chance of being asteroids.

But certification of the preliminary observations still has to be done and this process can take years at times. 

However, every one of the observations holds strong, Nicolinha will become the world’s youngest person to make a discovery concerning an asteroid. This will break the record of an Italian astronomer named Luigi Sannino.

Sannino discovered an asteroid now called 12575 Palmariaat aged 18 back in 1999. If Nicolinha’s directions stand up to more observation, the 8-year-old hopes to give the asteroids the name of well-known Brazilian scientists and members of her family. 

Also Read: Massive Asteroid Twice the Size of Empire State Building Will Pass By Earth on September

Asteroid Hunters 

Recently, Nicolinha has been among the Asteroid Hunters, a project which International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) and Brazil’s ministry of science runs and is designed to make people involved in astronomy.

As yet, the project has seen hundreds of amateur scientists from all over the world – India, Iraq, Spain, and Nigeria – succeed in making not less than 185 preliminary detections as well as 85 objects discovered. IASC reveals that the 8-year-old made seven preliminary detections in the latest campaign.

Nicole’s mother, Zilma Janaca, told AFP: “When she was two, she would raise her arms to the sky and ask me, ‘Mom, give me a star.’

Janaca added: “We understood that this passion for astronomy was serious when she asked us for a telescope as a birthday present when she turned four. I didn’t even really know what a telescope was.”

A person setting up a telescope to view asteroid

(Photo : Getty Images)

Nicolinha’s Obsession with Space

Similar to any juvenile buck with their head up in the stars, by just having a look at Nicolinha’s room one can tell she’s very obsessed with space. Her room is filled with Star Wars toys, astronaut-themed decorations, and astronomy posters, together with the computer she uses to go through pictures of space to search for asteroids.

Using this computer, the 8-year-old also broadcasts her YouTube channel, interviewing several world’s famous names including a Brazilian astronomer, Duília de Mello and an ambitious Brazilian female astronaut, Andressa Costa Ojeda.

Nicolinha has possibly achieved quite a large amount within the short time she has spent in the world, but it seems this is just the beginning of her astronomical ambitions.

She said: “I want to build rockets. I would love to go to the Kennedy Space Center at NASA in Florida to see their rockets.” 

Heliomarzio Rodrigues Moreira, Nicole’s astronomy teacher, said: “She really has an eye. She immediately spots points in the images that look like asteroids and often advises her classmates when they are not sure they have really found any.”

Related Article: Asteroid Three Times Bigger Than Statue of Liberty Will Hurl Past Earth on Fall Equinox

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