May 02, 2001 17:34
For the first time in history, a star was given a Korean name by a Korean. Lee Tae-hyeong, a 36 year-old amateur astronomer, announced Tuesday that he had received permission from the International Astronomical Union in April to name stellar target 23880, which he found in September 1998. Lee added that it will be called "Tongil," which means unification.
Three stars had been already given Korean names but all by Japanese astronomers. Lee said that he had been inspired by Professor Kichiro Hurukawa, who had given Korean names to two stars in 1977 and 1999, when they met in the spring of 1998. He discovered 23880 that fall.
After meeting the Japanese astronomer who had given a Korean name to the star that he found, Lee went near the DMZ area, whenever the weather was good for observing the sky. He said he was upset with the fact that a Japanese had given a Korean name, so he visited him to learn the know-how of searching for stars.
Lee added that he found the star using a 21cm-telescope that anyone can easily purchase. He stressed that to find a new star, it was important that many people look for one and good equipment alone do not guarantee the discovery of new stars.
Lee, who studied chemistry at Seoul National University, joined an amateur astronomers' club in his sophomore year. He said that he was fascinated by stars at the time. He has written three books on stars which were popular with the general public. He will be inaugurated as the head of the Daejeon Citizens' Astronomical Observatory on May 3.
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