An asteroid discovered by Nantou County’s Lulin Observatory has been named after the county’s Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), National Central University said on Saturday.
Asteroid No. 300286 has been officially named “Zintun,” or Sun Moon Lake in the Thao language spoken by the indigenous Thao people in Nantou, the university said on Saturday.
The International Astronomical Union has approved the naming, it said.
Photo courtesy of National Central University
The observatory discovered Zintun in 2007.
The university said the name pays tribute to the indigenous people who discovered the lake after making the difficult trek from western Taiwan to the Central Mountain Range.
Zintun has a diameter of about 1.3km and an orbital period of 3.87 years, it said.
At perihelion, the closest point to the sun in its orbit, it is about 283 million kilometers from the sun; and at its aphelion, its most distant point from the sun, it is about 456 million kilometers from the sun, the university said.
The Earth’s average distance to the sun is about 150 million kilometers.
Zintun can currently be spotted near the Sagittarius constellation, the university said.
In related news, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said the annual Taurid meteor shower would peak over the weekend, and the phenomenon would be visible from Taiwan.
People would be able to observe the Taurids from 7pm until dawn where there is clear skies and little light pollution, it said.
The Taurids are two separate showers comprising a southern and a northern stream. The former is usually active from Sept. 10 to Nov. 20, while the latter is active from Oct. 20 to Dec. 10, the museum said.
The southern Taurids peaked on Saturday, producing five to seven shooting stars per hour, it said.
The northern Taurids would be active over the weekend and are expected to produce one to two shooting stars per hour, it said.
The Taurids do not usually generate a lot of attention among stargazers, because of the low rate of the shooting stars they generate, but the International Meteor Organization and meteoriticists were expecting a burst in the southern stream this year, as was the case in 2015, the museum said.
Chances are there would also be a higher number of Taurid fireballs, which fragment and move slowly across the sky, it added.
The Taurids move across the sky at about 28 kilometers per second, or 3,600kph, which is slow compared with the Leonids, which move at about 71 kilometers per second and occur later this month, the museum said.
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