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'Lake Baikal: the very name fills Russian hearts with awe'
Mike Carter, The Observer

Russia's first static meteor observing station is opened in Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
28 October 2015

One early visitor: a fireball streaking across the sky and splashing into Lake Baikal.

On a clear night, the equipment has registered up to 40 meteorites. Picture: Irkutst State University 

The station is in remote Tunka valley, in the Republic of Buryatia, an ideal vantage point for observing incoming meteors because of the absence of artificial lighting. Created by the astronomical observatory of the Irkutsk State University (ISU), it operates from two unmanned modules some 58 kilometres apart. 

This allows researchers to observe the same meteor from two different locations, and to measure its size, light energy, direction, weight of meteoric particles and other parameters, more precisely. 

Map

It operates from two unmanned modules some 58 kilometres apart.  Picture: The Siberian Times

Kirill Ivanov, researcher at ISU's observatory, explained that the cameras are pointed in such a way that the centres of their field of view match at a height of about 100 km. 'They ensure maximum overlap of the field of view, two thirds, at a height of about 80-120 km. The data is stored in industrial computers.' On a clear night, the equipment has registered up to 40 meteorites.

On 22 October, two weeks after the facility opened it recorded recorded a bright fireball, flying from west to east, over the mountains of Mongolia and Buryatia. Having originated in the Asteroid Belt, the meteorite's journey ended as it sank into the waters of Lake Baikal, about 1 km from the shore, and 17 km from the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoye.

Meteorite

Having originated in the Asteroid Belt, the meteorite's journey ended as it sank into the waters of Lake Baikal. Picture: Tvoy Irkutsk

'Most likely that meteorite fell under the 'bad' influence of Jupiter, and away from its 'true path',' said Ivanov. Its initial mass was around one kilogram, its size - about 10 centimetres. This meteorite - shown in the video here - was also spotted by locals. 

A key research aim is to expand our knowledge of the meteors, their characteristics and paths. In November researchers plan to observe the prolific Leonid meteor shower. This occurs when the Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet litters its orbit with fragments of bits of debris which enter the Earth's atmosphere and vaporise.

Comments (3)

Good luck with your meteor observations. May you be blessed with clear skies.
Richard Heaton, Norwich, England
27/11/2015 00:08
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0
What a remarkable system. and also remarkable is the fact that so many meteorites have already fallen in this instruments field of view. Too cool.
Ted Judah, Petaluma, CA
01/11/2015 10:29
4
0
Oh dear! Is it a "Bird"?
Jaker, Dundalk
29/10/2015 23:26
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3
1

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