The man who literally put Tainan on the astronomical map and helped to promote the city internationally, former Tainan Astronomy Association chairman Lin Chi-sheng (林啟生), was on Thursday honored by the city government.
Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) presented Lin with a certificate of gratitude to thank him and the association for their help in promoting Greater Tainan.
Lin was stargazing at the National Central University’s (NCU) Lulin Observatory in Yushan National Park on Oct. 15, 2006, when he discovered a minor planet, or asteroid, later numbered 187514 by the Minor Planet Center.
The center, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, is the official organization in charge of collecting observational data about minor planets and comets, and publishes information in the Minor Planet Circulars.
As astronomers have the right to name the heavenly bodies they discover, Lin named minor planet 187514 after his hometown — Tainan.
According to Lin, there are other asteroids that also bear the name of Taiwanese cities, such as “Kaohsiung,” “Taoyuan,” “Taichung,” “Chiayi” and “Nantou.”
“Tainan” was not the first asteroid that Lin had discovered.
Tainan Astronomy Association director Chou Yin-wang (周銀王) said Lin had earlier named another one of his discoveries “Gueiren,” after Greater Tainan’s Gueiren District (歸仁).
Lai on Thursday lauded the association for helping to promote the city’s image.
Lai said he wished Tainan’s name would echo through deepest space and across borders through having more asteroids named after each of the city’s 37 administrative districts.
The association gave the city a model of an asteroid, which is to be placed on display in the comets and asteroids section of the Tainan Science Education Museum.