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 Aristarkh Belopolsky


Born:   July 1, 1854
Deceased:   May 16, 1934

astrophysicist and astronomer

      

Aristarkh Apollonovich Belopolsky, eminent Russian astronomer and astrophysicist, was born on July 1, 1854 in Moscow. His father was first a teacher in a gymnasium, and then took a position of a chief controller at Yaroslavskaya railway. Aristarkh’s mother was a talented pianist. Childhood of future scientists was a happy one – the kids of Belopolsky family enjoyed many hobbies, including construction of musical instruments, and later switched to physics, chemistry and natural history. Gifted children built electrophoruses and Leyden jars, trying to capture atmospheric electricity; built aquariums and terrariums and inhabited them with lizards, frogs and snakes, and etc. Young Aristarkh was fascinated by steam engines and built a model of a locomotive.

Aristarkh Belopolsky received higher education in Moscow State University, however, he wasn’t very eager to study, since his dream was to become an ordinary worker. His father insisted on studying at the university, and Aristarkh never regretted making that decision. While a student, Aristarkh worked as an operator in the university observatory and performed photographic observations of the Sun. In 1877, after spending five years at the faculty of mechanics and mathematics of Moscow State University, Aristarkh Belopolsky was allowed to continue his work at the university and to prepare for professorship. Between 1879 and 1888 the scientists assisted at the observatory of Moscow State University, and in 1888 he moved to Pulkovo observatory, which became the work of his life. Scientific career of Aristarkh Belopolsky developed within Pulkovo observatory.

While performing the Sun’s photographic observations, Aristarkh Belopolsky watched sunspots and tried to understand patterns of their movements by means of a special experiment. The scientist also studied dependence of Sun rotation on movement of faculae. The astronomer was among first researchers, who used a special spectrograph for photographic registering of celestial bodies’ spectra. In 1890 Aristarkh Belopolsky started a huge experiment on measuring ray velocities of stars. Belopolsky discovered periodic behavior of cepheids’ ray velocities, and his discovery helped to reveal that cepheids were able to pulse.

In 1895 Belopolsky used the spectroscopic method to confirm that Saturn’s rings consisted of small bodies, and Jupiter’s atmospheric circulation showed distinct zonal distribution. The astronomer analyzed edge spectrum of the solar disc and found that rotation speed of Sun’s surface layers was subject to significant changes.

 

Aristarkh Belopolsky also studied comets: he investigated their spectra, physical structure and chemical composition. The astrophysicist performed photographic observations of sun and moon eclipses. In 1900 Belopolsky planned and performed an experiment, which allowed verification of the formula, which linked speed of spectral line displacement to object’s traveling speed (Doppler’s principle). The scientist read lectures, which later became a textbook of astrophysics. In 1903 Aristarkh Belopolsky was elected a full member of Russian Academy of Sciences.

The scientist died on May 16, 1934 in Pulkovo, Leningrad Region.

Source: Krugosvet.ru

 


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