Thursday, November 12, 2015

Now, it's meteors that will be monitored

ABU DHABI --- The UAE Space Agency and the Abu Dhabi-based International Astronomy Centre have signed an agreement to establish a meteor monitoring and filming network.
As part of the agreement, at least three monitoring stations will be built across the emirate containing technology to monitor outer space. Command and control centres will also be set up to receive and analyze the information. The stations are expected to be in operation by the end of 2016.
The project will provide astronomical reports and data around meteor and satellite movements in space, including determining and tracking their co-ordinates, all of which will help support dedicated scientific research.
A website dedicated to the space monitoring stations will be launched to allow observers to see the pictures and scientific results of the project.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and Khalfan Al Nuaimi, general manager of the International Astronomy Centre in Abu Dhabi.
"This project will help contribute to raising awareness and the education of student and educational and academic institutions around the topics of astronomy and space," said Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the space agency.
Mr. Al Nuaimi added, "Our partnership with the UAE Space Agency for the establishment of a network to monitor meteors is a key strategic project that will contribute to supporting the state towards developing the space sector and building a base of statistics and results that will without a doubt support the academic and research sectors."
Dr. Al Rumaithi explained that this project falls under some of the Agency’s main tasks, which includes the development of the national space sector, the formulation of space policies, supporting the next generation of engineers and scientists, guiding national space programmes that will benefit the national economy and the development of human resources.
He also added that the monitoring of meteors supports the role of the UAE as well as other countries in promoting space exploration and contributing to the global scientific space community.
The agreement states that the UAE Space Agency will be the representative for the UAE Government with regard to issues of funding and supervision of the project, which was proposed by the International Astronomy Centre in Abu Dhabi.
Each station in the network contains two cameras, the first of which contains a ‘fish eye’ lens which covers the sky with a wide angle and the second has a narrower vision.
Each camera has a different purpose, with the fish eye lens allowing the camera to capture the greatest number of meteors appearing in the sky but the results of the analysis of the captured video clips may be less accurate. The narrow lens will collect a smaller number of shots but the results of the analysis will be more precise. It will therefore be able to gain a clearer picture of the meteors and asteroids.
The cameras will also be able to mark the location of meteors with greater accuracy.

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