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Dr. Zouhair Benkhaldoun is a highly accomplished astrophysicist and energetic expert, holding a PhD in Astrophysics from Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France (1994). He also earned a doctorate in Energetics from the University of Provence in Marseille, France, in 1985.

His distinguished career in astrophysics began in 1985 when he co-founded the first Astrophysics laboratory in Morocco at the national research center, CNRST, alongside three other researchers. In 1992, Dr. Benkhaldoun joined the Semlalia Faculty of Sciences at Cadi Ayyad University and, in collaboration with fellow researchers, established the High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Laboratory (LPHEA) in 1999.

One of his significant contributions includes leading the creation of the first professional Astronomical Observatory in Morocco at Oukaimeden, inaugurated in 2007. Dr. Benkhaldoun has been at the helm of this observatory since its inception.

In 1999, he played a pivotal role in establishing the Amateur Astronomy Association of Marrakech (3AM), a cultural association focused on promoting the sciences of the universe, particularly to schoolchildren. His dedication to the qualification of astronomical sites in Morocco resulted in the country being selected for the site testing campaign for the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT).

Dr. Benkhaldoun assumed the role of President of the Moroccan National Committee for Astronomy in May 2013, acting within the International Astronomical Union. Furthermore, he has served as the President of the Arab Astronomical Society since 2016 and the President of the Atlas Dark Sky Foundation since 2019. The latter foundation is dedicated to combating light pollution and advocating for the creation of a dark sky reserve around the Observatory of Oukaimeden.

As an accomplished author, Dr. Benkhaldoun has contributed to over 300 articles and communications in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. Notably, he contributed the discovery of the "TRAPPIST-1" exoplanet system, a groundbreaking achievement published in the prestigious Nature journal.

His scholarly impact is further evidenced by his publication record, including six articles in both Nature and Nature Astronomie. Dr. Benkhaldoun's Google Scholar H-Index of 33 underscores his significant influence in the scientific community.

Dr. Benkhaldoun is also very active in the domain of science outreach. 

In recognition of his involvement in the domain of Astronomy, the international astronomical union (IAU) gave his name to the asteroid 133892 Benkhaldoun (2004 RN8).

For further details on Dr. Zouhair Benkhaldoun publications, you can explore his profile on:

Google Scholar: Zouhair Benkhaldoun - Google Scholar Profile.

WOS: https://www.webofscience.com/wos/author/record/F-2620-2012

scopus: https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=6602845544

Publications in Nature & Nature Astronomie:

    • Nandakumar, S., Eggl, S., Tregloan-Reed, J…, Benkhaldoun, Z et al. The high optical brightness of the BlueWalker 3 satelliteNature 623, 938–941 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06672-7

    • Peterson, M.S., Benneke, B., Collins, K. ,..., Benkhaldoun, Z, … et al. A temperate Earth-sized planet with tidal heating transiting an M6 star. Nature 617, 701–705 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-05934-8

    • Morgado, B.E., Sicardy, B., Braga-Ribas, F. ..., Benkhaldoun, Z, … et al. A dense ring of the trans-Neptunian object Quaoar outside its Roche limit. Nature 614, 239–243 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05629-6

    • Vernazza, P., Jorda, L., Ševeček, P. ..., Benkhaldoun, Z, … et al. A basin-free spherical shape as an outcome of a giant impact on asteroid Hygiea. Nat Astron 4, 136–141 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-019-0915-8

    • Luger, R., Sestovic, M., Kruse, E. ..., Benkhaldoun, Z, … et al. A seven-planet resonant chain in TRAPPIST-1. Nat Astron 1, 0129 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-017-0129

    • Gillon, M., Triaud, A., Demory, BO. ..., Benkhaldoun, Z, … et al. Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Nature 542, 456–460 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21360