Oliveira first rose to fame when she discovered seven new asteroids under a NASA-affiliated program called ‘Asteroid Hunters’.
Image: Facebook/@International Astronomical Search Collaboration
Eight-year-old Nicole Oliveira, who recently discovered seven asteroids, is being dubbed as the world’s youngest astronomer. Oliveira made a name for herself by participating in a citizen science program organised by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) in July this year. The little girl developed a passion for astronomy at just the age of five.
Nicole’s love for astronomy
The eight-year-old tilted towards space science when she was just learning to walk, and now she was attending international seminars and conversing with top astronomers in her country. Oliveira first rose to fame when she discovered seven new asteroids under a NASA-affiliated program called ‘Asteroid Hunters’, which aims to draw young people into this field by encouraging them to make discoveries. The little girl’s room is reportedly filled with stuff like star war figures, posters of the solar system and miniature rockets. Citing inputs from AFP, Phys.Org reported that Nicole has already discovered 18 asteroids in total.
Road to being the youngest astronomer
Although Oliveira’s findings are yet to be certified, she is on her way to becoming the youngest astronomer ever. This title is currently owned by 18-year-old Luigi Sannino from Italy. As per multiple media sources, Oliveira has plans to name her discoveries after top Brazilian scientists or her parents. She is already the youngest member of Alagoas Astronomical Studies Cente (CEAAL), an institution that brings together amateur astronomers from all over Brazil. Being the youngest at CEAAL also had some challenges for the little girl as initially, she was denied admission for the course by the organisation due to being underage. However, after she turned six, enrolled in the classes, took her exams and finally became the institute’s member. Besides, she has also delivered a lecture on asteroid ‘Bennu’ and runs her own YouTube channel about astronomy.
According to Oliveira’s astronomy teacher Heliomarzio Rodrigues Moreira, the girl “has an eye” for new discoveries as she effortlessly spots anything that resembles asteroids. Currently living in Ceará state’s capital Fortaleza, she has earned scholarships and wants to visit the NASA Kennedy Space Centre for their rockets. Besides, she also expressed her desire to see all Brazilian kids develop an interest in Science.