Today I have something from the world of astronomy. But first an important ERRATUM:
Last week I posted a 4-part series entitled “Yeltsin: Drunk Or Not Drunk?” This morning in the shower (where I do some of my best thinking) it suddenly occurred to me that that was the wrong title. I regret that the title was grossly misleading, dropped the actual lede (since the main content of the article was not so much about Yeltsin’s drinking habits, as about his plans to flee to the American Embassy), and also wasted an outstanding opportunity for a literary pun. Hence, in the spirit of “Righting an ancient wrong”, I dived back into my blog today and changed the title to “Yeltsin: To Flee Or Not To Flee”. I believe that this is the first time I have changed the title of a post after the fact. Nothing else was changed in the content. Unfortunately, the WordPress URL link will still contain the old title, there’s nothing I can do about that. I feel deeply ashamed that I did not think of that correct title at the time. But, as Comrade Lenin used to say, “Better late than never.”
With that unpleasant business out of the way, I now proceed to a happier theme: Space telescopes. So, I have this piece by science reporter Anton Nikitin. The headline reads:
Russia Has Restored System of Control of the Near Cosmos
The article quotes sources from the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. These sources state that the Russian Federation has restored a network of radio-telescopes across the globe which operate in place of (взамен) a single observational network in orbit around the Earth. This network ceased to function after the dissolution of the USSR.
After the break-up of the USSR, a main portion of the Earth-bound observatories practically ceased their activities of recording incoming signals.
However, a resurgent Russia was recently able to restore the work of 10 of these old observatories. Namely, two of them in the Russian cities of Ussuriysk (way out there in the Far East, near Vladivostok) and Blagoveshchensk (also way out there, near the Chinese border); and 8 telescopes in foreign countries, namely Bolivia, Gruzia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Switzerland; not to mention two others in Tajikistan.
In addition to this, eight new points of observation have been set up: In Kamchatka, the Far East, Siberia, Altai, Moldavia, and Mexico. These points are sufficient to cover the entire geostationary orbit.
Meanwhile, the telescopes at the Keldysh Institute receive incoming data about the launch of satellites, their dissolution in orbit or re-entry back into the atmosphere. They track the paths of potentially dangerous incoming objects and the various chunks of space debris in orbit.
By the beginning of 2018 the Keldysh Institute possessed data about 2,438 objects in geostationary orbit (at a height of 36,000 km above the Earth, which is where Communications Satellites fly); also 2,925 objects in a high-elliptical orbit (also used mainly for communications); and also 361 objects in a medium-circular orbit, which is where the GLONASS and GPS type satellites fly.
The reporter ends this piece by proudly asserting, that Russia’s un-glorious days of having Swiss-cheese-like holes in her anti-rocket defense — those days are over. By the end of last year, three new Radio-Location Stations (RADAR) were built, to warn of incoming rockets. Because, in this dangerous world that we live in, Russia has bigger things to worry about than just space debris.