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Monitoring Network to Scan Skies for Meteors, UFOs
The Beijing Planetarium Photo: CFP
Published: September 07 2010

By Xuyang Jingjing

A meteor-monitoring network to be completed this year may provide more solid evidence to confirm or debunk UFO sighting claims.

The city will establish six monitoring stations to observe flying objects that cross the sky, the first of their kind in the country.

With 3 million yuan ($441,897.78) in government funding, the network will mainly be used to track falling stars, comets and meteors of a certain brightness, said Kou Wen, the Beijing Planetarium expert in charge of the project.

The station can observe and record almost anything that flies overhead, including meteor showers and UFOs, Kou said, providing a chance to supply more accurate documentation that can be used to verify or dismiss UFO witness reports.

Beijing UFO Research Organization chief Zhou Xiaoqiang welcomed the new system.

"It's often difficult to determine what the flying object is based solely on experience, when there's only a picture or a witness' recollection," he said.

Statistics collected from the stations could discover new meteor groups and also help scientists to locate meteorites, Kou said.

A meteor was witnessed falling to earth on the west side of Beijing in December last year, but scientists never recovered the meteorite. The six stations will be built in the Beijing Planetarium and Daxing, Huairou, Pinggu, Miyun and Yanqing.

The stations will be run by computers only, with a dome that opens and closes automatically according to weather conditions, Kou said. Six cameras and an automatic control device will be installed inside.

The equipment will operate at night only. Test operations at the stations are estimated to begin in a few months.

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