Struve, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm 1793 - 1864

(1793-1864), German Astronomer

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, one of the greatest 19th-century astronomers and the first in a line of four generations of distinguished astronomers, who founded the modern study of binary stars, 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 at the request of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Struve went to Pulkovo, near St Petersburg to supervise the construction of a new observatory. He became director of the Pulkovo Observatory in 1839 but continued his binary-star studies. 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.