The International Astronomical Union gave the name of the Senegalese astronomer, Maram Kairé, to an asteroid in the belt of asteroids that gravitate between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Since May 14, 2021, the award has been made public by this association of qualified astronomers. The selection goes through several complex steps before being definitively validated. Maram Kairé, president of the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy, will now mark the history of astronomy. He is the first Senegalese to see his name engraved in the solar system.
It is all of Senegal that is honored through this recognition of the International Astronomical Union. Maram Kairé, president of Aspa, now has his name engraved in the solar system. An asteroid in the belt of asteroids that gravitate between the planets Mars and Jupiter is called “Maram Kairé”. The Senegalese astronomer welcomed the privilege granted him for the first time in the history of Senegal. ‘I still don’t realize, I accept the news with humility […] What we do, we are aware today that we do not do it for our own person, but much more for the image of our country on the international level and on the scientific level, but also for future generations,’ he said.
The asteroid in question was discovered on 27 April 1998. It was numbered (35462) 1998 DW 23 but now it officially becomes (35462) “Maram Kairé”. It is part of the main belt of asteroids orbiting the Sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. It makes a complete tour around the Sun in 4,36 Earth years.
Maram Kairé’s distinction came from the initiative of his friends, astronomers, astrophysicists and planetologists. He led two NASA (the American Space Agency) missions to Senegal in 2018 and again in September 2020. They were occultation missions, linked to the exploitation of probes sent to the planets of the solar system.’
The President of the Republic Macky Sall addressed a message of congratulations and encouragement to the Senegalese astronomer whose dedication and passion for this field so rare in the country. On his Twitter account on Tuesday 30 June 2021, he expressed the pride of all the Senegalese people through the distinction received by Maram Kairé. ‘An asteroid of the Solar System now bears the name of the Senegalese astronomer Maram KAIRE. I want to say, here, all the pride of Senegal and congratulate him on this fine distinction which, while immortalizing him, sublimates his passion and commitment to astronomy.” said the Head of State.
Former Minister of Higher Education from 2012 to 2019, Mary Teuw Niane, also paid tribute to Maram Kairé, a tireless astronomer who continues to serve his people. On Tuesday, 30 June, he expressed his satisfaction at seeing this great Senegalese astronomer honoured internationally. In addition, he invited the State of Senegal to accompany him in his projects for the best interests of the nation.” I hope that this new distinction will lead our country to complete the projects it carried out, such as the astronomy observatory, the planetarium, the Centre for the construction of micro satellites and particularly the Senegalese Astronomy Agency.”, said the former minister, from the Saint-Louis region.
Mary Teuw Niane also called on the Senegalese government to direct the education system towards scientific and technical courses. This will be a major asset for a developing Senegal. “Giving Senegalese astronomy a chance to emerge also means contributing to the promotion of mathematics, digital science and technology in schools and in society. It is to permanently and eternally install Senegal, above our heads, in Heaven,” he added.
Maram Kairé is a 42-year-old Senegalese astronomer. Since childhood, he has had a passion for astronomy. He sometimes scrutinized the sky as he walked through the streets of the Senegalese capital from which he was born. Currently, he is the president of the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy, composed of a hundred members and a thousand supporters.