UAE meteor detecting stations now in operation

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Three stations for detecting meteors in the United Arab Emirates are now operational, the UAE Space Agency announced on November 13, 2016.

A network of cameras has been established to contribute to the monitoring of meteor showers and discover the potential new ones. The UAE Astronomical Camera Network (UACN) is capable of tracking the meteor and space debris and to calculated their trajectories.

The first of the stations, UACN1, was established in the area of Remah, during January, the second one, UACN2 in the Razeen, during August while the last one was placed in operation this October, in an unknown location.

Every station is equipped with 17 cameras set to start recording after the meteors have been detected. 16 of them are capable of taking narrow-field images, necessary for precise analysis of meteor's trajectories. One of the cameras is wide-angled and capable of covering the entire sky.

The UACN already spotted a meteorite which fell near the Abu Dhabi, on September 30. It was detected by the wide-angle camera at the UACN1 and one of the cameras at the UACN2.

According to experts, it was tracked from 93.4 to 44.8 km (58 to 27.8 miles), its diameter ranged between 1 and 3 cm (0.4 and 1.2 inches) while it's weight was estimated between 5 and 20 g (0.01 and 0.04 pounds) with a density of 2.2 grams per cubic centimeter (0.08 pounds per cubic inch)

The meteorite was very bright and visible to the naked eye. It's moving speed was estimated at 23 km/h (14.3 mph) and it likely landed somewhere between the Khalifa City and Al Raha Beach.

"UACN provides astronomical research centers with state-of-the-art technology, which plays a central role in encouraging scientific research and innovation in the UAE. We hope that the network will make major contributions to the efforts of fostering the country’s leading position in the field of space research and exploration," said Dr.  Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director of the UAE Space Agency upon the announcement.

See also:

Video credit: UAE Space Agency

Featured image credit: UAE Space Agency

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