TIANJIN, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- An asteroid has been named after China's Tianjin University, with approval from the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Asteroid Tianjindaxue (Tianjin University), coded 8917, was discovered in March 1996 by astronomers with the Beijing Schmidt CCD Asteroid Program at the Xinglong observatory in north China, according to a recent IAU communique.
With a diameter of 37.122 km, the asteroid orbits in an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Its orbital period is 6.28 years.
Asteroids are the only celestial bodies that can be named by their discoverers.
In 2017, a group of alumni who graduated from the university in 1970s started the asteroid naming application to IAU, with the support of the National Astronomical Observatories.
Tianjin University, founded in 1895 as Peiyang University, is one of China's oldest modern institutions of higher education and has developed into a leading multidisciplinary research university, in engineering in particular.
It is also the first modern university offering astronomy courses in China.
Other Chinese universities including Peking University, Nanjing University, and Harbin Institute of Technology have also been used as names for asteroids.