Fesenkov, Vasilii Grigorevich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fesenkov, Vasilii Grigor’evich


Born Jan. 1 (13), 1889, in Novocherkassk; died Mar. 12, 1972, in Moscow. Soviet astronomer. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1935; corresponding member, 1927) and member of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1946).

Fesenicov graduated from the University of Kharkov in 1911. He then studied at the Sorbonne and defended his doctoral dissertation there in 1914. He was a founder of the Russian Astro-physical Institute, becoming its director in 1923. He later helped found the P. K. Shternberg State Astronomical Institute and was its director from 1936 to 1939. Fesenkov organized the Astro-physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR and headed the Astronomical Council and the Committee on Meteorites of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Fesenkov’s main works dealt with atmospheric optics, astrophysics, and cosmogony. Fesenkov was one of the first to perform photometry of the zodiacal light, and he provided a dynamical theory of the phenomenon. He proposed a hypothesis on stellar corpuscular radiation and the formation of stars from the interstellar medium, which consists of gas and dust. He developed a criterion for the tidal stability of celestial bodies that explains many features of the structure of the solar system as well as the formation and evolution of galactic objects. In 1924, he organized the publication of Astronomicheskii zhurnal (Astronomical Journal).

Fesenkov was awarded three Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


“Kriterii prilivnoi ustoichivosti i ego primenenie v kosmogonii.” Astronomicheskii zhurnal, 1951, vol. 28, no. 6.
“Obrazovanie zvezd iz volokon gazovo-pylevykh tumannostei.” Astronomicheskii zhurnal, 1952, vol. 29, no. 4. (With D. A. Rozhkovskii.)
Korpuskuliarnaia radiatsiia kak faktor evoliutsii Solntsa i zvezd. Moscow, 1952.
“Solntse i solnechnaia sistema.” Izbr. trudy. Moscow, 1976.
“On the Corpuscular Emission Theory of Stellar Evolution.” Annales d’Astrophysique, 1959, no. 8. (With G. M. Idlis.)


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