Asteroid 218 Bianca was discovered by Johann Palisa on September 4th 1880. It is a fairly large, asymetrical asteroid, rotating every 6.3 hours, and orbiting the Sun once every 4.3 years at a speed of over 18km/s.
The naming of Bianca caused more interest than usual in the European newspapers because the honour was given to Bertha Schwarz (stage name Bianca Bianchi), the German soprano. She was pretty much the Monserrat Caballe of late nineteenth century Viennese opera circles, so famous that she inspired Johann Strauss II to write the waltz “Frühlingsstimmen” (Voices of Spring) for her (although strangely he dedicated it to the pianist Alfred Grünfeld).
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