Sayan Solar Observatory located in village Mondy. Institute of Solar and Earth Physics.Petr Malinovskiy/RIA Novosti
The new AZT-33VM telescope, with a 2.8-degree field of vision, was created by the St Petersburg optics company, LOMO, to search for dangerous asteroids and comets. Boris Shustov, chairman of the expert group on space threats at the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Science, said that the telescope can find a 50-meter diameter asteroid at a distance of one astronomic unit, (150 million kilometers, or 93 million miles).
"One month is the shortest period of time when any newly-discovered bodies can unexpectedly approach the Earth at such a distance; and this is the worst-case scenario,'' Dr. Shustov told the newspaper, Izvestia. ``But usually, we have a few years to observe potentially dangerous bodies before they approach the Earth."
The new telescope was developed in the framework of Russia's Federal Space Program for 2016-2025, which plans to create a warning system for dangerous situations in near-Earth space. The program calls for the development of new technologies and methods to find celestial bodies that threaten Earth.
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