Pulkovo Observatory and the National Observatory Movement: An Historical Overview

  • Steven J. Dick
Part of the International Astronomical Union / Union Astronomique Internationale book series (IAUS, volume 141)


The patronage of national governments has played an important role in the history of astronomy, classically in the form of National Observatories. In this paper we 1) argue that the last three centuries have seen what we may call a “national observatory movement,” in that national governments during this period increasingly supported astronomical observatories, and in that such institutions share certain common properties of origin, purpose and evolution; 2) demonstrate the important role that Pulkovo Observatory has played in this movement; and 3) compare certain aspects of the Pulkovo Observatory and the United States Naval Observatory as exemplars of this species founded within a decade of each other under very different political conditions.


Astronomical Institution National Observatory Star Catalogue Royal Observatory Naval Observatory 
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Copyright information

© IAU 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Dick
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Naval ObservatoryUSA

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