Asteroid Day in Khartoum 2017
University of Khartoum Space Research Centre organized a late asteroid day in Khartoum in collaboration with Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). The program contained a seminar on Asteroids and meteorites in Sudan, and visits to two public primary schools.
The seminar was held at University of Khartoum, Faculty of Science on July 30th. It attracted audience that varied from university professors, students, professionals, and amateurs. The seminar featured three speakers on technical presentation in addition to an opening speech and a discussion session. The opening speech was presented by Miss Rayan Imam, a Researcher at the Space Research Centre and also the National Point of Contact (NPoC) for SGAC in Sudan. She introduced the Day organizers and talked about the Space Research Centre at University of Khartoum and its current activities. Also, she talked about SGAC and its objectives, network, projects and activities. She invited the interested students and young professionals to join the organization and help build a space generation network in Sudan.
The second speaker Miss Omima Osman, a Lecturer at the Department of Physics with postgraduate degrees in Astrophysics and Cosmology, talked about Asteroids: the remnants of our Galaxy formation. She spoke about the types of asteroids and their chemical composition. She also explained how to distinguish between an asteroid (meteorite after it falls on earth) and other rocks when found on ground.
The next Speaker Dr. Osman Abu Aagla, a Geologist and an expert in Meteorites gave us an interested speech about meteorites that fell in Sudan. His presentation listed almost all the known meteorites of Sudan in the past 50 years. His presentation was supported by pictures of the meteorites or the samples collected from them and also the results of studying these celestial bodies. Dr. Osman also gave the first public announcement of the results of testing the meteorite of Alabbaseya which fell in Sudan on June 20th 2017 just 6 weeks before this event. He also showed the audience a sample of this meteorite. Finally, since there is no complete record or database of Sudan meteorites so far, Dr. Abu Aagla concluded his talk by calling for a project to record all these meteorites in a database.
The last speaker on this event Miss Hanadi abdalla, a Researcher at the Space Research Centre gave a presentation on the space technologies for monitoring and studying Asteroids. She took us on a journey starting from the earth telescopes that detect and monitor asteroids, to the spacecrafts that carry telescopes that are used to monitor asteroids. Then she talked about the spacecrafts that were sent to collects samples of steroids and the ones planned to be sent for asteroids. She concluded her speech with the cubesat missions for asteroids and their current situation and future plans.
The commenters on the seminar thanked the organizers for such informative event that covers many sides of this topic. They also encourage the group to keep organizing such events. The discussion mentioned asteroids as one of the expected reasons of Dinosaurs extinction and discussed the other theories in brief.
The day was concluded by screening a documentary movie about M6 Meteorite (TC3) which fell in Sudan in 2008. TC3 is the first and only asteroid to be monitored before it entered the earth atmosphere. The documentary tells the story from discovering the asteroid through monitoring it entering earth and the process of collected samples of it by University of Khartoum students under the Supervision of Prof Shaddad from the Department of Physics. Then the results of analyzing the asteroid and the scientific value of this asteroid/meteorite to the science community.
The program also featured visits for two primary schools, one for girls and the other one for boys on 31 July 2017 and 3 August 2017 respectively. Both schools are public which means they are less privileged than the private education institutes in Sudan. The visits were organized in collaboration with Education without boarders - Sudan. The presenters, a group of undergraduate students at the Faculty of Science University of Khartoum are Miss Eman Hassa, Mrs Hoyam Badwe, Miss Tagwa Bashier and Miss Hana Almubark. They talked about the solar system generally and asteroids in more details. The talked about where are asteroids located, what are the theories of their existence, why they sometimes hit earth and what is the danger they impose on our planet. Also, the session included an activity for making a solar system model using recycled materials. The pupils had a nice discussion with the instructor and requested more activities on space related topics. For this event, Mr. Hassan, an astronomy amateur kindly lent us his demonstration kit for the solar system which the students very much enjoyed exploring.