With the Mid-Autumn Festival coming up this week, the Taipei Astronomical Museum has invited the public to join in a series of activities to celebrate the holiday, which include a moon viewing and an open-air jazz concert.
From 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, the museum will set up dozens of telescopes provided by schools and civic groups from Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市) in its parking lot to allow members of the public to observe the moon to celebrate the holiday, which is also known as the Moon Festival and falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
“During those two hours, the museum will also stage an outdoor jazz concert at the square in front of the building’s rear entrance in which a number of bands, including the Liuho Indoor Band (六合室內樂團) and Hsi Chu Ni Wo Ta (戲曲你我他), have been invited to perform,” the museum said.
In honor of the popular tradition of eating mooncakes during the festival, a giant mooncake donated by the Kuo Yuan Ye Educational Foundation that weighs 50kg will be served at the show, the museum said, adding that there would be an unlimited supply of free coffee.
In addition to the outdoor events, the museum is to offer free guided tours of its exhibition hall every half-an-hour from 6pm to 8:30pm.
In the event of rain, the outdoor events will be moved indoors instead, the institute added.
Also on Thursday, the National Central University in Taoyuan County’s Chungli City (中壢) plans to allow the public to use a 61cm telescope installed in its Science I Building Observatory from 7pm to 10pm to look at the moon.
A number of smaller telescopes will also be set up on the university’s lawn areas, the school said, warning that the viewing was subject to cancellation in the event of inclement weather.
The school said that the observatory had been reopened thanks to the generosity of several entrepreneurs, including Delta Electronics chairman Bruce Cheng (鄭崇華), whose donations made its recent reconstruction possible.
In an effort to promote astronomical education and research, the university began building the observatory — the first of its kind in Taiwan — after it founded the Graduate Institute of Astronomy in 1977.
The facility opened in 1981 and was equipped with the largest astronomical telescope available at the time — a 61cm Cassegrain reflective telescope. It has helped nurture scores of prominent astronomers in the country since then, the school said.
However, Chungli’s rapid economic development subjected the observatory to light pollution, rendering it unfit for conducting astronomical research.
Throughout the 1990s, the university gradually moved its research to the Lulin Observatory, which sits at an altitude of 2,862m on the Lulin Front Mountain (鹿林前山) in Yushan National Park.
The Lulin Observatory has the highest discovery rate of asteroids in Asia and found the Lulin Comet, which was the nation’s first comet discovery.