ISU Astronomic Observatory
Address: 119A Sovetskaya St, Irkutsk
Contacts: tel. +7 (3952) 27-12-94
The ISU observatory in traditionally worked for the popularization of astronomy. The archives contain hundreds of newspapers and journals of popular scientific publication prepared by workers of the observatory. During the Soviet Union the observatory made flyers about upcoming eclipses, offered lectures about astronomy throughout the Irkutsk region, and led classes for teachers of astronomy. Today work continues on a new level: there are public lectures, work with mass media, event nights such as “Street Astronomy,” an event during which telescopes are placed outside so that any passerby in the city might look at the moon and planets.
For many years the observatory participated in international and domestic research that provided us with the identification of the parameters of the revolution of Earth. With the help of the zenith telescope and transit instruments, the observatory monitored the movement of the geographic pole of our planet and the speed of its revolution on its axis. The ISU observatory has always been one of the premier and most respected observatories in the nation because of its success in producing precise astronomical observations. The observatory began optically monitoring satellites orbiting Earth ever since the first satellite was launched into space by the USSR in 1957. Originally, all observations were conducted using the naked eye by students and teachers of the physical mathematics faculty at the university. Only later were observations of satellites operated using photography. After 1962 the observatory participated in synchronized observations of satellites with Moscow, Novosibirsk, Hanoi, and Ulan-Bator. In 1963 the station at the observatory became the lead in such projects for the eastern half of the country.
After this project was closed in 1975, the observatory began studying silver clouds—a mysterious condensate on particles of meteor dust at a tremendously high altitude.
The observatory today is comprised of ten staff members who conduct research in three fields. The first is the study of the Sun begun in 1940 and continuing through the present day on a new level. There are daily observations of solar spots (conducted by S.I. Raschetin and V.V. Kaplenko), the monitoring of complexes of activity on the Sun: gigantic magnetic structures that are responsible for the solar activity that affects processes on Earth. Candidate of Science in physical mathematics, V.I. Sidorov received a series of important results in the field of the theory of solar flares. Workers at the observatory, the doctors of physical mathematics, S.A. Yazev and D.V. Semenov, have taken part in the field observations of seven full solar eclipses in various parts of the world.
The ISU observatory along with the Scientific Research Institute of Applied Physics at ISU take active part in the project involving a network of telescopes known as “MASTER” developed by the astronomers at the Moscow State University. The automated station “MASTER-2” in the Tunkinsky valley tracks various subjects in the Universe including explosions in the vicinity of black holes and flares of supernovae. K.I. Ivanov, also a worker at the observatory, is looking for planets near stars. In September of 2013, with the help of the tunkinsky telescope, a 250 meter long asteroid was discovered and then added to the list of objects that present a future threat to Earth.
Research in the field of meteor astronomy has begun at the observatory. Under the leadership of E.S. Komarova in 2013, two wide-angled cameras were operated simultaneously for the first time from two different locations from scientific observation stations in Listvianka and Bolshie Koty. This work will allow the scientists to determine the speed and trajectory of flight of meteors as well as the altitude at which they burn in the atmosphere.
Sergei Arkturovich Yazev, a doctor of physical mathematics and the third representative of a dynasty of astronomers in Irkutsk, has been the director of the observatory since 1997. The associate professor Ivan Yazev worked in the Pulkovskaya, Nikolaevskaya, and Poltavskaya observatories, between 1948 and 1955 was head of the observatory at ISU. His son, Arktur Yazev, candidate of science in physical mathematics, who began working at the observatory as a student, made astronomical observations with transit instruments for more than fifty years. S.A. Yazev's mother, Kira Sergeevna Mansurova, candidate of science in physical mathematics, began working at the ISU observatory in 1957 and later worked as the director between 1972 and 1988. The asteroid № 6845 was named in her honor.