With their heads in the moon, dozens of Dakar residents met on Saturday evening, October 16, at the Place du Souvenir to take part in the “Night of the Stars”, an operation to popularize astronomy but above all an exceptional mission. From NASA in Senegal who observed the orbit of an asteroid with an international team and ten telescopes coming to this country at the moment.
as reported from Dakar, Thea Ollivier
Dozens of participants – adults and children – lined up to view the moon and planets such as Venus and Jupiter through the three telescopes installed at Place du Souvenir in Dakar. Mamadou Diallo, 15, especially came with her father: “I saw the moon. It was great to see the moon so close, it interests me a lot because I want to be an astronaut, go to space, find out what’s going on there. “
This educational event follows a mission commissioned by NASA in Senegal, concerning a star occultation, namely the moment when an asteroid passes between a star and our planet, which is explained by Maram Kaïré, president of the Senegalese association. To promote astronomy: “We had to carry out this occultation campaign to get more information about its size, its shape and its orbit and to get as close to it as possible. This allows us to have information about asteroids that are ultimately the targets of the probes that NASA sends into space ”.
Belgian, French and Burkinabè astrophysicists This mission included American scientists from NASA as well as Belgian, French and Burkinabè astrophysicists, emphasizes David Baratoux, planetologist: “These occult missions we do in Senegal have the special role of contributing to the growth of astronomy in West Africa. In 2018, we had important training phases. Today, NASA entrusted a blackout campaign for Senegal. This means that the Senegalese laws will be stronger “.
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Creating professions is also one of the goals of all researchers who come to share their passion.