March 31, 2015


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About history

Here we give some essential events in the history of Tartu Observatory.

  • 1947 - On January 1, 1947 the Institute of Physics, Mathematics and Mechanics is founded in the framework of the academy of sciences. The Mathematician Arnold Humal is named the director. The institute includes old Tartu Observatory together with astronomers.
  • 1949 - Institute is reorganized: those active in mathematics and mechanics are employed by Tartu University, and astronomy and geodesy are defined as the main directions of research.
  • 1950 - Academician Aksel Kipper is named the director of the Institute; the question of founding a new observational base is raised by A. Kipper and H. Keres.
  • 1952 - On October 9, the Institute is again renamed the Institute of Physics and Astronomy (FAI).
  • 1957 - The observatory is given land on the Tõravere hill.
  • 1958 - The construction begins at Tõravere. At the same time we start to design the 1.5m telescope.
  • 1961 - A part of the department of astronomy starts its work at Tõravere.
  • 1963 - The main building of the observatory is ready. The first 50cm telescope sees its first light.
  • 1964 - All the astronomers move to Tõravere where apart of the main building the first apartment houses and boiler house are ready.
  • 1964 - On September 14, an international conference is held on the occasion of opening the new observatory which is given the name of F.G.W. Struve.
  • 1967 - The construction of the so-called combined building (6 floors) begins. It will be ready only in 1974.
  • 1969 - The construction of the 1.5m telescope dome begins.
  • 1973 - Again the Institute is reorganized: Part of it is named Institute of Physics, situated in Tartu and the Institute of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics, situated at Tõravere. Väino Unt is elected the director of the latter.
  • 1974 - The 1.5m telescope is ready at last!
  • 1974 - The council is elected to defend the Candidate's thesis in astrophysics.
  • 1975 - In summer the observations are started with our biggest telescope - the 1.5m telescope.
  • 1977 - In September the 79th Symposium of the International Astronomical Union "Large-scale structure of the Universe" is held in Tallinn. For the first time the idea of cell structure of the Universe is made public.
  • 1985 - Tõnu Viik is elected the director of the Institute.
  • 1992 - We convene the international radiation seminar in Tallinn.
  • 1993 - Due to the hard times the structure of the Institute is changed and approximately one third of the personnel continues its work.
  • 1995 - Since September 21, we regain the old name - Tartu Observatory.
  • 1997 - The STELLAARIUM is opened.
  • 1998 - The new 60cm ZEISS 600 telescope sees its first light.
  • 1999 - On April 7 the new director - Laurits Leedjärv - is elected.
  • 2001 - Repair works of the 1.5-m telescope, coating reflectors with aluminium layer.
  • 2002 - Measurements of atmospheric aerosol with the NASA solar photometer started.
  • 2003 - J. Einasto is awarded the Science Prize of the Republic of Estonia for his lifetime work.
  • 2010 - On April 1 the new director - Anu Reinart - is elected.


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