P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy


scientific research institution of Moscow University. The institute was organized in 1931 as a result of the union of the Moscow University Astronomical Observatory (in existence since 1830), the Astronomical-Geodesic Scientific Research Institute of Moscow State University (established in 1922), and the State Astrophysical Institute in Moscow (founded in 1923). The P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy carries out the educational as well as scientific work of the astronomy division of the Moscow State University Department of Physics, which prepares astronomy specialists.

The P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy includes astronomical observatories in Moscow on the Lenin Hills (since 1954) and Krasnaia Presnia (since 1830), an astrophysical observatory at Kuchino near Moscow (since 1924), a southern station in the Crimea (since 1956), and a continuing high-mountain expedition at 3,000 m above sea level near Alma-Ata (since 1957). The largest telescope, a 125-cm reflector, is installed in the Crimea. In addition, there are a 70-cm, 60-cm, and two 48-cm reflector telescopes, 50-cm and 25-cm meniscus telescopes, three solar research installations, a 40-cm high power astrograph and two as-trometric astrographs (38- and 25-cm), two meridian circles, a zenith telescope and zenith tube, and a first-class time service with a photoelectric transit instrument and four quartz clocks.

Among those who have worked in the Moscow Astronomical Observatory and the P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy are F. A. Bredikhin, the founder of the Moscow School of comet astronomy, and his successor, S. V. Orlov; V. K. Tseraskii, pioneer of photometric work in Moscow. S. N. Blazhko, the investigator of variable stars; P. K. Shternberg, one of the pioneers of gravimetry in Russia; N. D. Moiseev, the celestial mechanics specialist and cosmogonist; and P. P. Parenago, the stellar astronomer.

The P. K. Shternberg State Institute of Astronomy carries on astrophysical and radioastronomical investigations, studies planetary atmospheres by means of infrared spectroscopy, and examines physical processes on the sun. It also makes stellar-astronomical investigations, particularly of variable stars and star clusters and irregularities and variations in the width of the earth’s rotation, compiles astromet-ric catalogs, and does work in the fields of celestial mechanics (in particular, the motion of artificial celestial bodies) and gravimetry. Extra-atmospheric astronomy is widely pursued. The institute has charted the far side of the moon according to materials obtained by the space probes Luna 3 and Zond 3 and has also studied the distribution of hydrogen around the earth, in interplanetary space, and in the upper atmosphere of Venus. The institute publishes Trudy (since 1922) and Soobshcheniia (since 1947).


[Blazhko, S. N., P. P. Parenago, and S. V. Orlov.] “Astronomua v Moskovskom universitete.” In Uch. zap. MGU: lubileinaia seriia, 1940, vol. 58.
Moskovskii universitet za piat’desiat let Sovetskoi vlasti. Moscow, 1967.


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