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Russian astronomers fail to detect meteorite’s crash in Siberia

December 07, 2016, 11:40 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK
The meteorite went undetected as there are not enough astronomical observatories in Siberia
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© AP Photo/Paul White, archive

NOVOSIBIRSK, December 7. /TASS/. The meteor seen on Tuesday night in the city of Sayanogorsk, in Russia’s Siberian Republic of Khakassia, went undetected by ground telescopes as there are not enough astronomical observatories in Siberia, the Novosibirsk Planetarium’s Director, Sergei Maslikov, told TASS on Wednesday.

"No one carries out astronomic research in that area, unfortunately. Krasnoyarsk is the closest city but there is neither a planetarium, nor an observatory there," he said.

Maslikov elaborated that the observatories closest to Khakassia were located in Novosibirsk and Irkutsk. "We could not see it here. In Irkutsk, the skies are constantly observed but Irkutsk is also rather far. I don’t think Irkutsk’s residents could see the meteor since it was smaller than the one that had crashed in the Chelyabinsk region, so it could have been seen in a limited area," Maslikov added.

A source in the Astronomical Observatory of the Irkutsk State University confirmed to TASS that they had not detected any celestial bodies.

The director of the Novosibirsk planetarium also said that comets were constantly observed from space as these observations were of great interest to astronomers. "We should now what celestial bodies come down from space and in what numbers. We know the approximate numbers but not specific figures," Maslikov noted.

According to him, ‘shooting stars’ come down from space almost every day but they usually fall away from human settlements, into the oceans or deep forests.

As the Sayanogorsk city website reported on December 6, a falling star considered to be an meteorite landed in the region of Khakassia, presumably in the Babik valley near Sayanogorsk.

The meteorite that hit the ground in Khakassia was not detected by the multichannel monitoring telescope (MMT) aimed at searching for quick-changing and fast-moving space objects, researcher officer of the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science, head of the MMT project Grigory Beskin told TASS earlier. He added that a multichannel system was capable of detecting such meteorites at a height of around 100 kilometers provided the meteorite would be flying not more than several dozen kilometers from the observatory. To cover the entire territory of the country, a vast network containing scores of such telescopes is necessary, Beskin said.

 

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