Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Krao

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crimean Astrophysical Observatory (Krao)


a scientific research establishment of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. It was founded in 1908 as the southern branch of the Pulkovo Observatory and was an expansion of the private amateur observatory near Simeiz (built c. 1900). Its principal instrument at that time was a double 12-cm astrograph, used for locating and studying the motion of asteroids. The observatory began developing rapidly after the Great October Socialist Revolution. In 1925 a 102-cm reflector was mounted and was used to study stellar spectra. Beginning in 1932 regular observations of the sun were conducted. The observatory’s building and instruments were destroyed as a result of the German occupation of the Crimea (1941–44). In 1945 a decision was taken by the Soviet government to reestablish the observatory at Simeiz and to construct new buildings in the mountains 12 km from the city of Bakhchisarai (in the settlement of Nauchnyi); it was made an independent scientific institution—the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

The most important area of research at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory is that dealing with the physical processes in the atmospheres of the sun and stars. Nebulae and stellar systems are also studied, and investigations are conducted in extraterrestrial astronomy and radio astronomy. The principal instruments in the settlement of Nauchnyi are the Academician G. A. Shain 2.6-m reflector, the largest reflector in the USSR and Europe; a 122-cm reflector; a 64-cm reflector; a meniscus telescope with a mirror 50 cm in diameter; and a 40-cm double astrograph. Studies of the sun are conducted using a tower telescope, provided with devices for studying the solar spectrum and magnetic fields and for taking motion pictures of the sun at various wavelengths, a coronagraph, and other instruments. There are also instruments for studying cosmic rays. A 70-cm reflector has been mounted at the old observatory near Simeiz. The observatory’s radio astronomical branch is located 3 km from Simeiz. It has a 22-m radio telescope for observations in the millimeter-wavelength region and various smaller instruments. The Crimean Astrophysical Observatory publishes Izvestiia (since 1947).


Neuimin, G. N. “Simeizskoe otdelenie Pulkovskoi observatorii za 25 let (1908–1933).” In Russkii astronomicheskii kalendar’ (ezhegodnik). Peremennaia chast’, 1934. Gorky, 1934.
Dobronravin, P. P. Krymskaia astrofizicheskaia observatoriia Akademii nauk SSSR. Moscow, 1955.
Dobronravin, P. P., and N. V. Steshenko. Krymskaia astrofizicheskaia observatoriia Akademii nauk SSSR. Simferopol’, 1965.


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