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Category of Astronomical Heritage: tangible immovable
Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow, Russia

Format: IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage Description

Description

Geographical position 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
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Sternberg Astronomical Institute -- Institute of Astronomy of Russian Academy of Sciences and
Sternberg State Astronomical Institute of the Moscow State,
Universitetskiy Prospekt, 13, Moscow, Russia, 119992

 

Location 
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Latitude 55°42’04’’ N, Longitude 37°32’34’’ E, Elevation 190m above mean sea level.

 

IAU observatory code 
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105

 

Description of (scientific/cultural/natural) heritage 
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Old Moscow University Observatory (1831)



Moscow University Observatory (1831) (Wikipedia)

Fig. 1. Moscow University Observatory (1831) (Wikipedia)



Already in 1804, the department of "observational astronomy" was established at the department of physical and mathematical sciences. In 1824, the Russian scientist and educator, rector of the university, academic Dmitri M. Perevóschikov, made a detailed plan for the construction of the observatory with a project carried out by the famous Moscow architect Afanasy Grigorievich Grigoriev (1782--1868), Moscow University architect from 1819 to 1831, who built a number of university buildings, the anatomical theater, a pharmacy, a surgical clinic, etc. A stone building with a round tower was erected on a special double foundation to establish particularly accurate astronomical instruments, and of two-storey wooden "professorial" observer’s house; the university provided 53,121 rubles for the construction. This astronomical observatory was established in 1831 on the Campus of the Lomonosov University in the Krasnoprésnenskaia neighborhood.   
The old observatory is converted into a museum. Among other instruments, it preserves a 15-inch double astrograph telescope.


Directors and Astronomers



  • Dmitri M. Perevóschikov (....), director 1824 to 1851
  • Aleksandr Nikolaevich Drashusov (1816--1890), director 1851 to 1856
  • B.Ya. Schweitzer (....), director 1856 to 1872

    Fyodor Aleksandrovich Bredikhin [Fjodor AlexandrowFyodor Aleksandrovich Bredikhin [Fjodor Alexandrow

    Fig. 2a,b. Fyodor Aleksandrovich Bredikhin [Fjodor Alexandrowitsch Bredichin] (1831--1904) and Vitold Karlovich Tserasky [Cerasky] (1849--1925) (Wikipedia)



  • Fyodor Aleksandrovich Bredikhin [Fjodor Alexandrowitsch Bredichin] (1831--1904), director 1873 to 1890, Pulkovo, director 1890 to 1894.
    Bredikhin defended his doctoral thesis in 1862 (comet tails) and habilitation thesis in 1864 (Störungen der Bahn von Kometen durch Planeten) -- started astrophysics with spectral observations of celestial objects, in particular of the Sun, beginning of the Annals of the Moscow Astronomical Observatory (1874); published Spectral lines of nebulae (1876).

  • Vitold Karlovich Tserasky [Cerasky] (1849--1925), professor of astronomy in 1889, director 1891 to 1916
    transit of Venus in 1874 to Kyakhta, 1883 master’s degree for techniques in determining the brightness of white stars, began in 1875 systematic photographing of the Sun and astrophotometric observations with the Zöllner astrophotometer, defended his doctoral dissertation Astronomical photometer and its applications (1888) -- beginning of the Russian school of astrophotometry. He started a systematic photographing of the sky with the aim of detecting and studying variable stars from the photographs obtained -- with his wife Lidiya Petrovna (GAISH photo library contains over 32,000 negatives).

  • Aristarkh Apollonovich Belopolsky (1854--1934) defended his master thesis Sun spots and their motion (1886), photography of the solar corona during a total eclipse in Yuryevets, August, 19, 1887, stellar spectroscopy, 1888 astronomer in Pulkovo, visits in APO Potsdam, 1899 USA: Yerkes, 1910 USA: Mt. Wilson ISU.

  • Pavel Karlovich Shternberg (1865--1920), director 1916 to 1920, head of the department of higher education
    defended his master thesis The latitude of the Moscow region in connection with the movement of the pole (1903), and began to study and measure the apparent brightness of the Sun -- its stellar magnitude; systematic gravimetric survey of the Moscow gravity anomaly using pendulum instruments, foundation of a Russian Astronomical Union (1917).

  • Sergei Nikolaevich Blazhko (1870--1956), director 1920 to 1931 (changes in light curves of RR Lyr stars -- Blazhko effect)

  • Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Mikhailov (1888--1983)-- "Scientific photography" and "Gravimetry" courses, astronomer at Pulkovo from 1947 to 1982, director until 1964.

  • Boris Aleksandrovich Vorontsov-Velyaminov (1904--1994) compiled the first catalogue of planetary nebulae and proposed a method for determining the distances to these objects.



Early instruments of Old Moscow Observatory



  • Ertel meridian circle (1832)
  • 7-foot telescope (1832)
  • comet seeker (1832)
  • Repsold meridian circle (1843), installed in 1981 in the Central Asian high-mountain expedition of the GAISh to the city of Maidanak
  • 10 1/2-inch refractor, Merz of Munich (1859)
  • 15-inch double astrograph, Henri brothers of Paris (1900)




SAI -- Sternberg Astronomical Institute (1931)



Sternberg Astronomical Institute, SAI (*1931) (Wik

Fig. 3. Sternberg Astronomical Institute, SAI (*1931) (Wikipedia)




  • The institute (SAI -- Sternberg Astronomical Institute) is named after astronomer Pavel Karlovich Shternberg (1865--1920), founded in 1931 (GAISH), on the site of the university observatory until 1956.

  • Hill of Sparrows -- Astronomical Observatory of the University of Moscow:   (Colina de los Gorriones)
    Headquarters of the Institute since 1956 (about 6 km South of the old observatory), it centralizes the activity of the institution. It has its own observatory made up of four domes on the roof of the main building and a series of auxiliary domes on an adjoining plot, bringing together a wide catalogue of astronomical instruments.

  • Kúchinskaia Astrophysical Observatory (55°45’15’’ N, 37°58’06’’ E), founded in 1925, it is located about 8 km east of Moscow. It is dedicated to making spectral observations of the Sun. The institute has a series of auxiliary astronomical facilities, distributed throughout the territory of the former USSR:

    • Crimean Laboratory, very close to the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory.
    • Baksán Neutrino Observatory, in the Caspian Sea region.
    • Caucasus Mountains Observatory, a recent facility equipped with a 2.5 m diameter reflector telescope.
    • MAESTRO World Robotized Telescope Network, a program launched and developed by the University of Moscow.


    Some facilities that belonged to the Institute are no longer under its supervision, as they have been located in countries independent of Russia, such as:

    • Tien-Shan Astronomical Observatory, located in Kazakhstan.
    • Maidanak Observatory, located in Uzbekistan.




Astronomers and Research topics


In the 19th -- early 20th centuries, the following astronomers worked at the observatory: Academicians Dmitri M. Perevoshchikov, A.N. Savich, F.A. Bredikhin, A.A. Belopolsky.
Corresponding Members: M.F. S. K. Kostinsky, G. A. Tikhov, S. N. Blazhko.
Professors: P. K. Sternberg, S. A. Kazakov, I. A. Kazansky, I. F. Polak and others. Vítold Tserask

Scientific research carried out by the staff of the Institute covers almost all areas of modern astronomy and gravimetry: celestial mechanics, cosmology, radio astronomy, physics of the Sun, studies of the Moon and planets of the Solar system, physics of stars and the interstellar medium, study of the Galaxy, extragalactic astronomy, relativistic astrophysics, gravitational wave astronomy, study of the parameters of rotation and the global structure of the Earth, coordinate-time support of the country and much more.
The following scientific schools for the physics of close binary and multiple systems and for the study of the structure, kinematics and dynamics of our Galaxy and the galaxies of the Local Group have been formed at the SAI.

 

History 
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Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Recractor (Wikip

Fig. 4. Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Recractor (Wikipedia)



Basic scientific astronomical instruments of the SAI


Sparrow Hills:

  • AVR-3 - 5-inch visual refractor (D = 125mm, F = 1900mm; north tower)
  • AVR-1 - 8-inch visual refractor (D = 200mm, F = 3000mm; in the north-east tower, 1955)
  • AZT-6 - Maksutov’s meniscus camera (D = 250/300mm, F = 952mm; in the southwestern tower) (meniscus 250mm in diameter, mirror 300mm in diameter)
  • AZT-7 - meniscus cassegrain (D = 200mm, F = 4200mm or 900 (?))
  • AFR-1 - wide-angle astrometric astrograph (D = 230mm, F = 2300mm) (developed by Prof. E. Ya. Bugoslavskaya)
  • ATB-1 - Vertical solar telescope (in the south tower there is a caelostat; integral mirrors = 440mm, objective D = 300mm, F = 14820mm or Cassegrain system mirrors D = 300mm, F = 19050mm) + spectrograph (~ 1958 y. )
  • APM-2 zenith telescope (D = 180mm, F = 2360mm) (1957)
  • APM-3 - photographic anti-aircraft tube (FZT) (D = 250mm, F = 4000mm) (1959)
  • ASP-10 - spectrohelioscope-spectroheliograph - horizontal solar telescope (cellostat D = 225mm, objective D = 140mm, F = 5350mm) + spectrohelioscope
  • DFS-2 - spectrograph
  • Zeiss-300 - visual refractor (D = 300mm, F = 4500mm, 1970)
  • AZT-2 - parabolic reflector (D = 700mm, F = 3110mm) + spectrographs: ASP-5 and ASP-6 and ASP-8
  • APM-10 - passage instrument (D = 100mm, F = 1000mm) (2 pcs.)
  • APM-4 - meridian circle with photographic registration (created under the leadership of V.V. Podobed, A.P. Gulyaev) (D = 180mm, F = 2500mm)


Krasnopresnenskaya Observatory, Moscow State University

  • 15 ’’ Dual Astrograph (Photographic Lens: D = 381mm, F = 6400mm; Visual Lens: D = 381mm, F = 6600mm)


Kuchin Astrophysical Observatory - mainly the Sun is observed after the 1960s

  • 40-cm astrograph (1946) (transported in 1958 to the Crimean Laboratory of the SAI)
  • horizontal solar telescope (1946)


Crimean laboratory of GAISH (South station of GAISH, since 1958):

  • 125-cm reflector ZTE (Cassegrain) (1961, designed according to the terms of reference developed at the Engelhardt Observatory; LOMO)
  • ZTL-180 (1958)
  • Fast Zeiss-400 (F = 1600mm), astrograph, from Kuchino (1958) (Wide-angle 40-cm Zeiss astrograph)
  • 50-cm meniscus telescope AZT-5 from Moscow (1958)
  • 48-cm mirror telescope AZT-14 (1965)
  • Zeiss-600 (1969).


Sternberg Astronomical Institute, 2.5-m-telescope,

Fig. 5. Sternberg Astronomical Institute, 2.5-m-telescope, Caucasus (Wikipedia 3, Matwey kornilov)




  • 2.5-m-telescope in the Caucasus
  • Baksan neutrino observatory


Caucasian Mountain Observatory GAISH MSU

  • System MASTER (Mobile Astronomical System of Telescopes of Robots)


Former bases: Tianshansk high-altitude station (Big Alma-Ata Lake, since 1957; after 1994 nationalized by Kazakhstan):

  • Nebular spectrograph by N.N. Pariyskiy (for studying the anti-radiance)
  • a horizontal solar telescope with a DFS-3 spectrograph and an IKS-6 infrared spectrometer and a slitless reflector-spectrograph ASI-5.
  • AZT-14 (D = 48 cm, reflector, 1966--1970)
  • Refractor-coude of the company "Opton" (Germany) with a Na-filter (1966--1970)

Maidanak laboratory (nationalized by Uzbekistan in the early 1990s).


Directors of SAI by year of appointment:

  • 1931 to 1936 -- Anatoly Alexandrovich Kancheev (....) - the first director of the GAISh on the territory of the Krasnopresnenskaya observatory
  • 1936 to 1939 -- Vasily Grigorievich Fesenkov (1889--1972),
    dissertation Paris 1914, founded the Astrophysical Institute in Alma-Ata (currently Almaty) and was its director until his retirement in 1964

  • Pavel Petrovich Parenago (1906--1960), head of the Department of Stellar Astronomy at the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics 1936, P.P. Parenago & Boris Vasilyevich Kukarkin (1909--1977): complete bibliographic index of all variable stars -- General Catalog of Variable Stars -- GCVS, 1948 (10,820 stars), 1981 (300,000 cards), 4th ed. 1985/87.
    Astronomers: Yu.N. Lipsky (1909--1978), G.F. Sitnik (1911--1996), B.A. Vorontsov-Velyaminov (1904--1994), S.B. Pikelner (1921--1975), I.S. Shklovsky (1916--1985), Ya.B. Zeldovich (1914--1987)

  • 1939 -- Nikolay Dmitrievich Moiseev (1902--1955)
  • 1943 -- Sergei Vladimirovich Orlov (1880--1958)
  • 1952 -- Boris Vasilievich Kukarkin (1909--1977) -- the last director of the GAISh on the territory of the Krasnopresnenskaya observatory



  • 1956 -- Dmitry Yakovlevich Martynov (1906--1989) -- the first director of the GAISh on the territory of the Lenin Hills
  • 1977 -- Evgeny Petrovich Aksyonov
  • 1986 -- Anatoly Mikhailovich Cherepashchuk
  • 2019 -- Konstantin Alexandrovich Postnov  

 

State of preservation 
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The Old Moscow Observatory on the Campus of the Lomonosov University is converted into a museum.

 

Comparison with related/similar sites 
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no information available

 

Threats or potential threats 
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no information available

 

Present use 
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Sternberg Astronomical Institute is a research institution in Moscow, Russia, a division of Moscow State University.
The SAI has activities in several fields of astronomy and astrophysics. SAI is the largest astronomical institute of Russia. It has a department of celestial mechanics developing ephemerides of the natural planetary satellites.

 

Astronomical relevance today 
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Modern subdivisions of GAISH MSU:
Astrometry and time services, Extragalactic astronomy, Gravitational measurements, Stellar astrophysics, Studies of the Galaxy and variable stars, Moon and planetary exploration, Celestial Mechanics, Radio astronomy, Relativistic astrophysics, Physicists of the Sun, Physics of emission stars and galaxies.

Laboratories:
Astronomical computing, Gravimetry, Space monitoring, Space projects, "Krasnopresnenskaya" laboratory, Laser interferometric measurements, New photometric methods, RATAN-600, Sector of the history of the university observatory and the SAI.

The institute includes: the Crimean laboratory, the laboratory in the North Caucasus, the high-mountain Baksan expedition, the Kuchin astrophysical observatory.

 

References

Bibliography (books and published articles) 
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  • Aubin, David; Bigg, Charlotte & H. Otto Sibum (ed.): The Heavens on Earth: Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture. Durham, North Carolina, USA: Duke University Press 2010.
  • Backlund, Oskar: Nachruf Fjodor Alexandrowitsch Bredichin. In: Astronomische Nachrichten 165 (1904), S. 351.
  • Hockey, Thomas: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing 2009.
  • Struve, Otto: A. A. Belopolsky. In: Popular Astronomy 43 (1935), p. 16 (1935PA.....43...16S).

 

Links to external sites 
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  • Astronomical Heritage Project,
    http://heritage.sai.msu.ru/history/sai_history/sai2005_01.html
  • Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow,
    http://sai.msu.ru/, http://www.sai.msu.su/
  • Sternberg Astronomical Institute - SAI (Lomonosov University, Moscow, founded in 1755),
    https://promenade.imcce.fr/en/pages6/880.html
  • 150 years of the Moscow University Observatory -- State Astronomical Institute, named after P.K. Sternberg
    http://nature.web.ru/db/msg.html?mid=1168206&uri=index.html

 

Links to external on-line pictures 
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no information available

 

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