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Asteroid named after Senegalese scientist

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) pays tribute to the Senegalese specialist for his commitment to promoting this field in schools,…

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) pays tribute to the Senegalese specialist for his commitment to promoting this field in schools, universities and communities.By Ibrahima Dione

Within four hours, the announcement of the news on Wednesday by Maram Kaire on Facebook generated a thousand reactions. 

The Managing Director of Africaspace, a company that advises developing countries on space strategies, expressed his “great honor” and “particular enthusiasm.”

Kaire a founding member of the African Astronomical Society (AFAS) did not hide his delight at his name being “engraved for eternity on the list of stars that we have loved, observed and studied so much.” 

With the renaming of asteroid (35462) 1998 DW23 in his honour, Maram Kaire has become the very first Senegalese to enjoy such a distinction.

“Beyond my name, it is the whole of Senegal that is honored. Generation after generation, when this asteroid is studied by the world’s scientific community, Senegal’s name will be in the minds of the world. And that’s the most important thing,” said Maram, who has already been decorated as a Knight (Chevalier) of the National Order of the Lion.

The choice of Maire, whose ambition is to “develop Astronomy and Space Sciences in Senegal,” is the result of “a rather strict validation protocol.” 

According to the source, it often recognizes a considerable contribution to the development of Astronomy or, in other cases, a tribute to the great figures of human history.

The Senegalese scientist’s international success allows him to tell all young people to believe in their dreams because “what awaits us at the end may exceed our expectations.” 

In his post, Maram Kaire expressed “gratitude to the discoverer of the asteroid, Alain Maury.” 

He also paid tribute to Mary Teuw Niane, Senegal’s former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, “who has always believed in this calling.”

Niane published on social media a congratulatory message in which he urged the Senegalese government “to complete the projects that (Maram Kaire) was responsible for, such as the Astronomy Observatory, the planetarium, the centre for the construction of micro-satellites…”

The former Rector of the Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis (north of Senegal) stressed that in Maram Kaire, Senegal “has an icon capable of gathering national expertise and building an international partnership with the best astronomers in the world and international institutions of Astronomy”.

The asteroid (35462) Maramkaire is, according to the document, part of the main asteroid belt orbiting the sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. 

Discovered on 27 February 1998, this celestial body makes “a complete orbit around the sun in 4.36 earth years.”

This object of the solar system was spotted by the Centre de Recherches en Geodynamique et Astrometry (CERGA) in Caussols, France via the European scientific project OCA-DLR Asteroid Survey (ODAS).

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