2010-11-18 12:29:51

Tzar Nikolay II signed a decree about foundation of astronomical departments of the Pulkovo Observatory in Simeiz and Nikolaev on June 13, 1912. The Naval Observatory in Nikolaev became Southern Department of the Pulkovo Observatory on July 1, 1912. At the same time, four additional posts were assigned for the observatory, namely, a leading astronomer, a junior astronomer, an astronomer responsible for calculations, and a mechanic. B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev was appointed as the director of observatory. 310 000 rubles were assigned to equip the observatories in Simeiz and Nikolaev.

B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev (1876-1956) was born in St Petersburg in an architect's family. Being a student of St Petersburg University, he took part in research of magnetic anomaly in a town of Kursk (Russia). In 1898, he graduated from the university and started to work as an astronomer in the Pulkovo Observatory. In 1899, he carried out magnetic and astronomical research at polar seas in the icebreaker "Ermak". In 1900-1902, he carried out observations with the vertical circle in Odesa. Reduction of these observations revealed that the vertical circle had very large systematic errors due to an unknown reason.

In 1907, B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev received a premium of the Russian Geographical Society for the reduction of these observations. In 1903 and 1913, he was awarded a St Stanislav's Order, 1st Grade and an Anna's Order, 2nd Grade, respectively.

At the end of 1912, B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev began to construct an enclosure for meridian instruments in a shape of horizontal semi-cylinder with double corrugated walls. The enclosure was divided on two halves one for the passage instrument, another for the vertical circle.

In March 1913, restoration work inside the main building was started. The meridian circle was removed from a hall in eastern wing, and an office for astronomical calculations was organized there. For this purpose, meridian slits in the walls and in the ceiling were walled up and plastered, the parquet floor was laid, and the electric lighting was made.

The official opening of Southern Department of Pulkovo Observatory (SDPO) took place on the 23rd of September, 1913. The restoration work was completed. The passage instrument and the vertical circle were installed in the new enclosure on this occasion. Director of the Pulkovo Observatory, academician O.Baklund made a speech at the solemn ceremony. B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev and P.Yashnov, who worked as the junior astronomer and was going to observe with the passage instrument, made a presentation of the new instruments. Then, O.Baklund invited guests to have dinner in the hall, where a lot of speeches were made. It was said about good perspectives of photographic observations in Nikolaev. On July 12, 1912, the Tzar signed a decree for assignment of funds to purchase the largest in Europe 32" refractor for SDPO. This refractor and 1m reflector for the observatory in Simeiz were commissioned to G.Grebba's firm in Dublin. A rotating dome and a lifted floor for the enclosure of refractor were also commissioned to the same firm.

First observations by absolute method were carried out in Nikolaev to provide international photographic programme with reference stars. Eight meridian instruments seven of them in northern hemisphere took part in this programme around the world. In 1914, I.Balanovsky brought 6" refractor from Pulkovo. He equipped it with Celner's photometer and a guide telescope. On October 22, 1914, he began observations of variable stars in stellar clusters h and c Perseus.

In spring of 1914, B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev began to construct a new house for astronomer's and mechanic's families. The house was quickly completed on the 25th of July, 1914. Then, the First World War had been started, and B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev could not find workers to build an enclosure for 32" refractor.

The situation was not much better in England. It is known from G.Grebb's letter to director of the Pulkovo Observatory that development of the dome and 32" objective was at the initial state. G.Grebb was going to deliver the dome in second half of 1914, and he had to deliver the objective in 1915. Unfortunately, G.Grebb could not fulfil these plans. The war interrupted contacts with his firm for a long time. Only in 1920, it became clear that the refractor and the reflector were not completed, and it was necessary to pay 24 282 pounds, additionally. In 1922, the additional payment was made. G.Grebb delivered the reflector and the rotating dome to Simeiz in 1925. But situation with the objective was much more worse. Academician A.Belopolsky was in England in December of 1923, and he made a deal with G.Grebb that 41" objective will be made instead of 32" one. Unfortunatly, the firm could not fulfil the deal. New 32" objective was made by the State Optical Institute in St Petersburg only in 1939. But it was not delivered before the Second World War. Now it is exposed in the museum of the Pulkovo Observatory. The dome and mechanical parts of the refractor were destroyed during the Second World War.

During the First World War in 1914-1918, P.Yanshov and B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev carried out observations with the passage instrument and the vertical circle, respectively. I.Balanovsky was going to observe with 6" refractor. But after a revolution in February 1917, I.Balanovsky and P.Yanshov came back to Pulkovo.

The Pulkovo Observatory did not send anyone instead of I.Balanovsky, and nobody carried out regular observations with 6" refractor. In June of 1917, M.Zimmerman was sent instead of P.Yanshov to continue observations with the passage instrument. In March of 1918, regular observations with the passage instrument were interrupted due to a fire inside the enclosure. The fire destroyed the wooden floor, the covering of piers, and the curtain against solar radiation. The enclosure had been repaired and M.Zimmerman started observations in a year. But they were carried out under the severe conditions of civil war, so that supply of electricity was unstable, and even stationery was in shortage. The conditions became better after the civil war. But M.Zimmerman relocated to Odesa in 1922 due to changes in the family relations. He came back in Nikolaev twice in 1923 and 1924 to complete observations of Catalogue (1915) with the passage instrument.

B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev carried out observations with the vertical circle in 1914-1917. In July of 1918, B.Zalesky joined him to observe in turn. In 1919-1920, B.Zalesky made a predominant number of observations. B.Zalesky was an astronomer from Pulkovo, who came to Nikolaev from the war after conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. A.Babursky mastered methods of differential observations with 6" refractor under B.Zalesky's leadership in 1919. G.Zimmerman studyed practical astronomy and methods of absolute observations with the vertical circle under B.Zalesky's leadership as well. G.Zimmerman remained to work in Nikolaev for a long time and made his contribution to scientific knowledge.

B.Zalesky was Pole, that was why he was arrested during the war with Poland in 1920 and released from a concentration camp at the end of 1920. In 1921, he and his family emigrated to Poland; although, only a few hundred stars were necessary to complete a Catalogue (1915.0). Observations with the vertical circle were stopped after B.Zalesky's emigration due to hard financial situation.

The observatory was cut off from Pulkovo and did not have any support during the civil war. Moreover, Nikolaev was occupied six times by different armies and even bands. The observatory was shelled many times; fortunately, neither telescopes nor buildings were not broken or destroyed.

On February 1, 1920, Soviet Power was finally established in Nikolaev. But regular ties with the Pulkovo Observatory were absent for a long time as well as financial support. The observatory was in dire straits during the first years after the civil war, and B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev was the only astronomer. In 1923, he lost a hope and removed to Kharkov, which was the capital of Ukraine at that time.

L.Semenov was appointed as the director instead of B.Ostashchenko-Kudryavtsev. Leonid I. Semenov (1878-1965) was born in Samara region (Russia) in a clerk's family. In 1897, he graduated from Samara college and entered the department of physics and mathematics at Strasburg University in 1904. In 1908, he graduated from the university and started to work in the Pulkovo Observatory. After passing the exams and the oral defense of the thesis "Zenith Stars in Pulkovo", he became a doctor of natural sciences at Strasburg University. L.Semenov carried out observations in Pulkovo with a zenith telescope, a vertical circle, and a passage instrument.

He acquainted with his future wife in Pulkovo, who was a sister of a well-known astronomer O.Vasil'ev. She was born in Nikolaev and managed to persuade her husband to come back.

L.Semenov wrote about the observatory at the beginning of his management the following, "The observatory is in very bad condition due to the lack of funds. Buildings are shabby. The ceiling in the library is completely broken. The ceiling in the Hall is leaky in many places and due to dampness, wallpaper comes unstuck, and short circuits happen quite often. The hatches of refractor dome were completely broken by severe storm in 1921. Funding was so much insufficient that substantial debts for water, electricity, and heating were accumulated." L.Semenov concentrated all his abilities on restoration of the observatory. He applied for help to local authorities. He asked them to reduce tariffs for water and electricity and to finance restoration work and maintenance needs. The authorities agreed to help, and the hatches of 6" refractor dome were quickly repaired. M.Zimmerman started to observe with the passage instrument in 1923. L.Semenov began observations for determinations of time as well. In 1924-1925, L.Semenov managed to have the main building, junior astronomers' buildings, an electric system, and a heating system, which did not operate during several years, repaired. He also managed to pay all debts, to provide telephone services , and so on. Life was returning to normal. G.Zimmerman, who worked for many years as a senior clerk and carried out observations with the vertical circle under B.Zalesky's leadership, was promoted as a junior astronomer to carry out observations with the vertical circle. G.Freiberg-Kondrat'ev made some changes in design of the vertical circle to reduce very large systematic errors. Consequently, G.Zimmerman carried out special observational programme to test the instrument in 1924-1927. He published the results as a catalogue of absolute declinations of 172 stars at a mean epoch 1925.0 (Nik 25). They revealed that Nik 25 deviated from the reference catalogue virtually the same way like catalogues that were obtained with this vertical circle in Odesa at mean epochs 1900.0 and 1910.0. Therefore, reasons of the systematic errors remained vague.

It should be noted that new authorities treated scientific needs delicately. In 1927, the observatory sent a horizontal axle of the passage instrument to Germany to change pivots. In 1928, a precise lathe and a stellar clock Rifler 519 were obtained from Germany. In 1930, the observatory bought a passage instrument (D=90), made by firm "Askaniya Verke"; chronograph and barometer, made by Fuse. In 1932, the observatory bought a stellar clock Short 35 with pendulum, which had a diurnal variation not more than 0.002s. This clock was the best one in the USSR for a long time.

In 1927, T.Semenova (1884-1958) was appointed as the astronomer of SDPO by the scientific council of the Pulkovo Observatory. She was entrusted to organize a time service. Her future work confirmed that the choice was correct. An accuracy of the time service was one of the best in the USSR thanks to T.Semenova's efforts. On January 1, 1929, I.Yazev (1895-1955) was appointed as the astronomer of SDPO. He and L.Semenov started observations with the passage instrument to determine right ascensions of 694 stars for catalogue Nik 30. G.Zimmerman observed with the vertical circle to determine declinations for the same catalogue. Both instruments carried out observations of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus as well. Each star had to be observed 16 times with the passage instrument and 8 times with the vertical circle. In March 1934, I.Yazev relocated to the Gravimetrical Observatory in Poltava. L.Semenov and G.Zimmerman completed the observations in 1935 and 1936 respectively.

In 1935-1939, the observatory took part in joined project of five observatories to determine coordinates of 1382 stars. L.Semenov and T.Semenova observed right ascensions with the passage instrument. G.Zimmerman observed declinations with the vertical circle. In 1939, the results were sent to Pulkovo. M.Zimmerman compiled observations from different observatories in a joint catalogue of 2957 stars with declinations between -10° and +90°. This catalogue was widely used by geodesists in the USSR and by time services of many observatories as well. Since May 1941 till July 1941, M.Stoilov worked as a leading astronomer. He developed a system for reception of time signals from radio stations in England, Germany, and the USSR. In addition, T.Semenova for a long time carried out observations with the passage instrument to provide the observatory with local stellar time. These two factors made the time service one of the best. That was why the observatory was included in a cooperative net of the time services.

In February 1939, L.Semenov started absolute observations of right ascensions of 571 stars with declinations between -30° and +80°, which were not included in FK-3, with the passage instrument. At the end of 1939, G.Zimmerman started absolute observations of declinations of 587 stars between -33° and +80° with the vertical circle. During the Second World War observations at night were not carried out due to demands on light masking. A battlefront was coming closer and astronomers began to prepare for evacuation to Tashkent. On August 5, 1941, L.Semenov applied for help to local authorities. On August 11, a secretary of district executive committee came to the observatory and said that lorries for the evacuation of instruments and people must arrive next morning at six o'clock. But nobody came to the observatory next day. The Germans were very close. On August 13, the district executive committee was empty, military authorities were in power and they did not want to be busy with the evacuation. On August 16, the Germans appeared in the observatory; and it was a time of deep grief, severe ordeals, and despair.

T.Semenova did not stand nervous stress and became mad, not having any news about her son and daughter. She ran in the territory of the observatory, seeking and calling her daughter. Afterwards, her health was partly restored with great difficulties. G.Zimmerman also had very hard fate because his wife was Jewess. In accordance with "The New Order", the Nazis had to kill her and their children. G.Zimmerman was German, and he managed to save them for a long time by all possible ways. We should pay him necessary respect. Even at that horrible time, he managed to work. In 1942, he obtained corrections to the limb divisions of the vertical circle and finished preliminary reduction of observations, carried out in 1929-1939 with the same instrument. At the same time, he came to the conclusion that a tube deformation of the vertical circle was not eliminated after replacement of an objective and an eyepiece with each other. In 1944, he invented a method to measure the tube deformation together with an astronomical latitude, a refractive coefficient, and corrections for elements of the Earth's orbit by using observations of the Sun and stars in both culminations. He developed this method, working in Poltava Astronomical Observatory. He appeared in Poltava in 1943. On September 4, 1943, the Nazis came to his flat to arrest the wife and the children. It was late evening and G.Zimmerman turned off the Nazis' attention by his speech that gave the opportunity for the wife and the children to leave the flat via the back entrance and to hide in a bomb shelter outside the observatory. G.Zimmerman promised the Nazis to bring the wife and the children in the morning. When the Nazis left the observatory, he found them. They left the town at the dawn, not taking even the essentials. Hiding in remote villages, they moved to the East. On September 23, 1943, they met with the Soviet troops somewhere in woods of Poltava region.

During the first days of occupation, German soldiers came to the observatory quite often. They took 8 chronometers, 2 arithmometers, a typewriter, binoculars, telescopes, lenses etc. Tyranny of the soldiers was reduced, when German and Rumanian radio stations were deployed at the observatory. When L.Semenov applied to German military authorities for help, the tyranny was completely stopped. As we already said, L.Semenov graduated from Strasburg University. He was fluent in German and managed to persuade the military authorities that scientific work of the observatory enriched world wide knowledge base. Consequently, Germans attached a board at the entrance with the following text, "The observatory is under special protection of German military authorities." Scientific work during the occupation was concentrated on reduction of previous observations. Night observations were not carried out due to light masking. Moreover, electricity supply was only restored on September 1, 1942. The observations were only carried out at day time and only by L.Semenov. In 1942-1943, he carried out 60 observations of the Sun, 15 ones of Mercury, 50 ones of Venus, 638 ones of reference stars, and 72 ones of the polar star. On March 28, 1944, at six o'clock, first soviet soldiers came to the observatory, and people's happiness was boundless.

In April 1945, G.Zimmerman returned to the observatory. Once after the war, L.Semenov and G.Zimmerman continued observations of additional stars for FK-3 with the passage instrument and the meridian circle, respectively. L.Semenov finished the observations at the end of 1950 and published a catalogue of right ascensions Nik 50 in Proceedings of the Pulkovo Observatory in 1958. G.Zimmerman finished the observations in April 1951 and published a catalogue of declinations in the same Proceedings.

In 1951, Ya.Gordon was appointed as the director of observatory. Yakiv Yu. Gordon was born in Chernigiv region (Ukraine) in the clerk's family on March 9, 1912. In 1938, he graduated from the Geodesy Department of Kharkiv Construction Institute and entered the postgraduate course at the Pulkovo Observatory. Since July of 1941 till October 1946 he was in the Soviet Army. In January 1947, he started to work as a junior scientist at the Pulkovo Observatory. In 1950, he successfully defended the thesis. In contrast to his predecessors, Ya.Gordon started to work at the appropriate time. The USSR won the Second World War.

The most awful things were already in the past, and people commenced to restore the country. Life was quickly improving, and possibilities for scientific development grew with great rate.

During the first years of his work, Ya.Gordon paid much attention to improvement of the time service. He very quickly achieved better reception accuracy of precise time signals. Reception of radio signals by ear was replaced by automatic chronograph. At this time, a new method of azimuth determinations of the passage instrument, using observations of zenith and equatorial stars, was proposed and introduced in practice by workers of the time service. They had also worked out an observational method, which eliminated a defect of the passage instrument and improved accuracy of observations.

In 1955, a meridian circle (D=150mm, F=2150mm), made by Repsold, was delivered in Nikolaev from the Pulkovo Observatory. Observations of stars by differential method were carried out with this instrument in Pulkovo for many years. During the Second World War, the meridian circle was kept in Leningrad and substantially damaged. Mechanic I. Ponomarenko had renovated this instrument, and it was installed in a new built enclosure.

Ya.Gordon and I.Bozhko, who was a postgraduate student at the Pulkovo Observatory, investigated its micrometers, pivots, errors of graduated limb, etc. In 1956, observations with the meridian circle were started in accordance with the international programmes AGK3R and KC3. More than 100 000 observations, which were included in corresponding international catalogues of stars in the northern and southern hemispheres, were made during six years.

During six years, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto were observed by L.Semenov and I.Dzuba with the passage instrument and by G.Zimmerman with the vertical circle, using the FK3. In 1957, V.Brovenko, O.Kalinina, O.Markina, and G.Petrov with the passage instrument and I.Bozhko, G.Zimmerman with the vertical circle started regular positional observations of the Pulkovo catalogues by absolute method. During the observations the following advances were made:

1. Method of absolute azimuth measurements was improved.

2. Design of the micrometer was upgraded.

3. A device for reduction of personal errors during observations of the planet edges was developed.

4. A filter for observations of the Sun was developed.

5. Design of the bubble level was upgraded that made possible to increase an accuracy of inclination measurements by several times.

Catalogue of absolute positions was compiled in 1967. Consequently, observations of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus were continued with the passage instrument and the vertical circle. The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was commenced on July 1, 1957. It was lately extended to the end of 1959. Sixty seven countries carried out geophysical researches in accordance with the common programme. Determinations of Earth rotation parameters, using observations of stars, and investigations of radio signal propagation in the atmosphere were included in this programme.

During the IGY, determinations of time, using observations of stars, were carried out with three passage instruments: 1) (D=90mm, F=1000mm), made by firm "Askaniya Verke", 2) (D=80mm, F=800mm), made by firm "Bamberg 6353", 3) APM-10 (D=100mm, F=1000mm), made in the USSR. Second and third instruments were installed in the new enclosure.

Junior astronomer S.Ivashnenko developed a recording system for the passage telescope, made by Bamberg co.

In May 1958, the time service bought two quartz clocks made by German firm "Rode&Shvarts", which had standard error of diurnal variations less than ±80ms. In the same year, an engineer V.Ivakin developed a system for reception of time signals with the accuracy ±10ms.

During the IGY, staff of the time service was increased from four to eleven people, and they calculated 2000 time corrections out of 34 000 observations of stars. These calculations made it possible to find out a dependence of the time corrections on a wind direction and diurnal time.

In 1959, two registering systems were developed by a scientist M.Ilkiv. The systems provided observations of reference stars with the passage instruments mentioned before. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union had launched the first artificial satellite, and in few days astronomers began visual and photographic observations under R.Fedorova's leadership. The observatory took part in synchronous observations of the satellites, which provided material for improvement of orbit and its evolution and made it possible to obtain geodesic link between observational stations.

In 1961, the Zonal Astrograph, made by "Carl Zeiss" in 1925, was put into operation. It was used in Simeiz before the Second World War; and it was hardly damaged during the war. Virtually, only optics and some mechanical parts were undamaged. In December 1960, the Zonal Astrograph was delivered in Nikolaev after restoration at opto-mechanical plant in St.Petersburg. Then, mechanics, I.Ponomarenko and S.Ryabochinsky, under F.Kalihevich's leadership, installed the Zonal Astrograph in a specially built enclosure.

The photographic lens has the following features: D=120mm, F=2040mm, FOV=5°x5°. Limiting photographic magnitude was 12m. Bodies of the solar system were the main targets of research with the Zonal Astrograph. F.Kalihevich, G.Gorel, V.Voronenko, and L.Gudkova carried out observations of minor planets in compliance with the programme of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy of the Academy of Science of the USSR during thirty-five years. They had observed about 2 500 positions of these objects; and about 2 000 positions were published. The accuracy of positions for minor planets up to 10m is ±(0."15- 0."20); and the accuracy of positions for more fainter planets is ±(0."20- 0."25). The minor planets were observed in a zone between -15° and +15° in declination near the ecliptic.

The planets were observed as well. Venus was only observed in 1967-1980 near elongations. Mercury and Pluto were not observed at all. Because Mercury is always very close to the Sun, and Pluto is faint for the Zonal Astrograph. Astronomers published 1827 positions of the planets with the accuracy ±(0."11- 0."30) except for Venus ±0."39. The most brightest satellites of Yupiter and Saturn were observed as well. The accuracy of their positions is ±(0."10- 0."15).

In 1973-1975, a polar zone between +68° and +90° was photographed. The same zone was photographed by S.Belyavsky with the same instrument in Pulkovo. Difference between two epoches was forty five years that allowed V.Voronenko to obtain proper motions of stars with the accuracy of ±(2-5)mas.

A sky survey of all stars up to 12m between +10° and -10° in declination near the ecliptic was also very important project, carried out with the Zonal Astrograph. Because, I.Korazzi's catalogue "Nikolaev Zone" was 8° in wide near the ecliptic as well. But the project was only completed up to 85% due to the lack of plates. Accurate positions of more than 200 bright comets were obtained as well.

The glass library contains more than 8 500 plates and more than 2 000 among them were obtained for the sky survey. In 1963-1964, visual microscopes of the meridian circle were replaced by photographic ones, under V.Konin's leadership. V.Nechaev developed a coordinate measuring device for images of the limb divisions in photographic films. Consequently, observations on the international programmes SR3 and BS were started to determine positions of reference stars at southern hemisphere.

In 1969, observations of zodiacal stars were started on Ya.Gordon's initiative. This initiative had been approved by International Astronomical Union and became the international programme in 1970.

In 1969, L.Gorel completed an extensive work on determination of proper motions of 12 500 stars between -25° and +25° in declination.

In 1972, at the 19th-astronomical conference of the USSR, G.Petrov proposed to carry out determinations of absolute right ascensions at high geographical latitudes during the polar night. This proposition had been approved by the conference in resolution N5, and astronomers of SDPO had to carry out this work.

In August 1973, leading astronomer, G.Petrov, and assistant, O.Gres, arrived to the West Spitsbergen. They chose a relatively flat summit for the enclosure at latitude: 78°06', at longitude: 14°14', at height of 100m above sea level, and at a distance of 3.5km southward from a town of Barentsburg.

In June 1974, O.Gres arrived to the West Spitsbergen. In July 1974, an assistant, A.Aristarhov, a deputy head, V.Ivakin, a scientist, M.Kalihevich, and a head of expedition, G.Petrov arrived there as well. They delivered a passage instrument, other necessary equipment, and commenced a construction of enclosures and dwellings. An astronomer, O.Cholombit'ko, and assistant, T.Tin'kova, from Pulkovo joined them a little bit later.

In October 1974, observations with the passage instrument during the polar night were started. In 1975-1976, during the second polar night the staff of the expedition was the following: a head, E.Tilk, a deputy head, L.Pleshivtsev, an astronomer from Leningrad University, V.Kiyaev, and an astronomer, V.Pyshnenko. In 1976-1977, during the third polar night the staff of the expedition was the following: an astronomer from Pulkovo and a head, G.Pinigin, a radio engineer, F.Bushuev, an assistant, M.Oreshenko, an astronomer from Pulkovo, A.Pavlov, and an astronomer, V.Pyshnenko. All expeditions tried to obtain the longest observations. The results of these observations during the polar nights completely confirmed a possibility of elimination of systematic errors:

1. 13782 observations of 531 stars were obtained to compile the Nik(Spz)75 catalogue of absolute right ascensions. The largest part of them were obtained during 25 serieses of observations with the length of 18 hours and more. The longest series was on December 25-30, 1977, namely, 115 hours. Thus, additional possibilities were obtained to solve the most difficult problems on determinations of positions of celestial bodies.

2. The mean values of air temperature during 24 hours were within ±1°C; and they did not depend on an hour angle of the Sun. Therefore, sources of errors like Daa were absent. 3. It was possible to observe stars in both culminations, spanning large arc of meridian, as the result, observations were free from errors like Dad.

4. Comparison of the Nik(Spz)75 catalogue with the KSV, Ri58, and FK-5 catalogues revealed that the first one was virtually free from systematic errors like Daa, Dad, and Dam.

In December 1979, N.Ilkiv marked limb divisions for the meridian circle. At the end of 1980, V.Konin and O.Pogony developed photoelectric scanning micrometer for the meridian circle. In 1984, L.Gorel and A.Shulga started observations of 1613 stars HLS and 1314 stars of equatorial zone from Kortazzi's catalogue with the meridian circle. In 1990, O.Pogony equipped reading microscopes with CCD cameras. As the result, the meridian circle observed the celestial bodies with the accuracy of ±(0."12-0."14). In May of 1978, Ya.Gordon had died, and R.Fedorova was appointed as the director.

Astronomers from Nikolaev carried out these observations since 1987 to 1991. After collapse of the USSR, the Pulkovo Observatory forbad astronomers from Nikolaev to continue observations without any reasons and explanations. In 1986, G.Pinigin was appointed to the post of director.

Gennady I. Pinigin was born in 1943 in clerk's family, in Altay region (Russia). In 1965, he graduated from the University of Tomsk with speciality in astronomical geodesy. In 1973, he graduated from Leningrad Avia Instrument-making Institute and successfully defended a thesis. In 1992, he became a Full Doctor. He worked as the director during difficult years of so-called perestroika of the USSR, which ended up by collapse of the Soviet Union, formation of independent states, and economic crisis in majority of new countries. All these events created additional difficulties, which did not facilitate scientific work.

Nevertheless, the new director managed to carry out a great volume of work on restoration of the main building, instrument enclosures, a workshop, and offices. At the same time, G.Pinigin started to reform scientific divisions in accordance with new demands and possibilities. This work became especially important after 1991, when the observatory became an independent organization affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Technology. G.Pinigin managed to put into operation the axial meridian circle and the measuring complex Parsec M.