Aleksandr Mikhailov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mikhailov, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich


Born Apr. 14 (26), 1888, in the city of Morshansk (present-day Tambov Oblast). Soviet astronomer and specialist in gravimetry. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1964; corresponding member, 1943). Member of the CPSU since 1956.

Mikhailov graduated from Moscow University in 1911 and was a professor there between 1918 and 1948. From 1947 to 1964 he was director of the Central Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR at Pulkovo. He organized the restoration of the observatory, which had been destroyed during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). After 1964 he was made head of the Section of Astronomical Constants. Mikhailov was chairman of the Astronomical Council of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1939 to 1962. From 1934 to 1960 he was president of the All-Union Astronomical and Geodetic Society. He was one of the initiators of the 1932 general gravimetric survey of the USSR.

Mikhailov participated in many gravimetric studies and in astronomical expeditions for observing solar eclipses. He developed the theory of solar eclipses and predicted the features of eight eclipses as well as the transit of planets across the disk of the sun, the occultation of stars by the moon, and other phenomena. Mikhailov built a type of “polar tube”—a special astrograph for determining the constant of aberration. Mikhailov’s monograph on the theory of eclipses is well known as are the star atlases that he compiled.

Mikhailov was vice-president of the International Astronomical Union from 1946 to 1948. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Copenhagen in 1946; he is a corresponding member of the Paris Bureau of Longitudes (1946). Mikhailov has been awarded three Orders of Lenin and several medals.


Kurs gravimetrii i teorii figury Zemli, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1939.
Teoriia zatmenii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1954.


Deich, A. N. “A. A. Mikhailov (k 80-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia).” Zemlia i Vselennaia, 1968, no. 3.
Selikhanovich, V. G., and G. P. Loginova. “A. A. Mikhailov (k 80-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia).” Izv. Vysshikh uchebnykh zavedenii. Geodeziia i aerofotos”emka, 1968, no. 4.
Astronomiia v SSSR za sorok let, 1917–57. Moscow, 1960. (Collection of articles; contains bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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