An 8-year-old Brazilian girl has been named the world’s youngest astronomer by a NASA-affiliated astronomy program.
Nicole Oliveira now attends astronomy seminars and, with the support of her parents and astronomy teacher, surveys the night sky, sending any new discoveries to NASA. She’s found 18 previously undiscovered asteroids thus far. This makes her ten years younger than the previous youngest individual to be recorded as discovering a new asteroid.
Nicole is a part of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, which collaborates with the Brazilian Ministry of Science and NASA to improve public awareness of astronomy.
Nicole says of her asteroid discoveries:
“I’ll give them the names of Brazilian scientists or members of my family, such as my mother or father,” says the author.
Heliomarzio Rodrigues Moreira, Nicole’s astronomy instructor, remarked of the little girl:
“She has a keen sense of what’s going on around her. She quickly recognizes asteroids in the photographs and frequently advises her classmates when they are unsure if they have spotted any.”
Nicole has long been captivated by space, according to her mother, Zilma Janaca, and her room is decorated with space posters and Star Wars figurines. Nicole had wanted a telescope since she was seven years old, and her father and she had saved up to get one. She began investigating the night sky as soon as she obtained the telescope.
She said to reporters,
“She used to lift her arms to the sky and plead, “Mom, give me a star,” when she was two.
“When she was four, she asked for a telescope as a birthday present and we realized she was serious about astronomy. I had never heard of a telescope before.”
Nicole then enrolled in an astronomy course, and she now has a YouTube channel where she records her work and encourages other kids to pursue astronomy.
In terms of her future, she says:
“I’d want to construct rockets. I’d want to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and view their rockets. I also want all Brazilian youngsters to have access to science.”