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Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm StruveAKA Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve

Born: 15-Apr-1793
Birthplace: Altona, Germany
Died: 23-Nov-1864
Location of death: St. Petersburg, Russia
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Studied double stars

German-Russian astronomer, the son of Jacob Struve, was born at Altona on the 15th of April 1793. In 1808 he entered the university of Dorpat (Yuriev), where he first studied philology, but soon turned his attention to astronomy. From 1813 to 1820 he was extraordinary professor of astronomy and mathematics at the new university and observer at the observatory, becoming in 1820 ordinary professor and director. He remained at Dorpat, occupied with researches on double stars and geodesy until 1839, when he removed to superintend the construction of the new central observatory at Pulkowa near St. Petersburg, afterwards becoming director. Here he continued his activity until he was obliged to retire in 1861, owing to failing health. He died at St. Petersburg on the 23rd of November 1864.

Struve's name is best known by his observations of double stars, which he carried on for many years. These bodies had first been regularly measured by William Herschel, who discovered that many of them formed systems of two stars revolving around their common center of gravity. After him John Herschel (and for some time Sir James South) had observed them, but their labors were eclipsed by Struve. With the 9.5" refractor at Dorpat he discovered a great number of double stars, and published in 1827 a list of all the known objects of this kind (Catalogus novus stellarum duplicium). His micrometric measurements of 2714 double stars were made from 1824 to 1837, and are contained in his principal work, Stellarum duplicium et multiplicium mensurae micrometricae (St. Petersburg, 1837). The places of the objects were at the same time determined with the Dorpat meridian circle (Stellarum fixarum imprimis duplicium et multiplicium positiones mediae, St. Petersburg, 1852). At Pulkowa he redetermined the "constant of aberration", but was chiefly occupied in working out the results of former years' work and in the completion of the geodetic operations in which he had been engaged during the greater part of his life. He had commenced them with a survey of Livonia (1816-19), which was followed by the measurement of an arc of meridian of more than 3.5° in the Baltic provinces of Russia (Beschreibung der Breitengradmessung in den Ostseeprovinzen Russlands, 2 vols. 4to, Dorpat, 1831). This work was afterwards extended by Struve and General Tener into a measurement of a meridional arc from the north coast of Norway to Ismail on the Danube (Arc du méridien de 25° 20' entre le Danube et la Mer Glaciale, 2 vols. and 1 vol. plates, 4to, St. Petersburg, 1857-60).

Father: Jacob Struve (b. 1755, d. 1841)
Wife: Emilie Wall (b. 1796, m. 1815, d. 1834, twelve children)
Son: Otto Wilhelm Struve (astronomer, b. 1819, d. 1905)
Son: Heinrich Vasilevich Struve (b. 1822)
Son: Bernard Vasilevich Struve
Wife: Johanna Henriette Francisca Bartels (b. 1807, d. 1867, six children)
Son: Karl Vasilevich Struve (diplomat, b. 1835, d. 1907)

    University: University of Dorpat

    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1826 (with John Herschel and James South)
    Royal Medal 1827


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