Wed, Jan 02, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Astronomical events to keep skywatchers busy

EYES IN THE SKY:A minor planet named ‘Taipei’ is to be at its closest to the Earth tonight, but it can only be seen through a telescope, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

People in Tainan learn about the Quadrantid meteor shower in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the Tainan Astronomical Education Area

Skywatchers have a lot to look forward to this year, as a series of astronomical events are to take place.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is expected on Friday night, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said.

The Quadrantids — one of the three annual major meteor showers — have a zenithal hourly rate of 120 meteors, the museum said.

Friday night would be perfect to observe the Quadrantids, as there would be no moon, it said.

The two other major meteor showers are the Perseids in mid-August and the Geminids in mid-December.

Following the Quadrantid meteor shower, a partial solar eclipse is to occur at 8am on Sunday, the museum said, but it can only be observed north of Tainan, as it has a small magnitude.

People observing the solar eclipse should use proper eye protection, the museum said, adding that they can also watch a live broadcast of the event on the museum’s Web site.

Another partial solar eclipse is to take place on Dec. 26, which would be visible nationwide, it said.

People who missed the “blood moon” in July last year would have another chance to see a total lunar eclipse on Jan. 21, the museum said.

However, the eclipse, which is expected to last five hours and 15 minutes, can be observed in North and South America, western Europe and Africa, but not in Taiwan, the museum said.

Planet 171381 Taipei, a minor planet, is expected to come closest to the Earth tonight, the museum said.

The planet was named “Taipei” as it was jointly discovered in 2006 by Taiwanese researcher Lin Hong-chin (林宏欽) and Chinese astronomer Ye Quanzhi (葉泉治) while they were working at the Lulin Observatory at National Central University.

Although it would be at its closest to the Earth, it would still be about 320 million kilometers away and can only be observed through a large telescope, the museum said.

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