German-born Russian astronomer, a pioneer in the observation
of double stars and one of the first to measure stellar parallax, in
1830. He was the founder of a dynasty of astronomers that spanned four
Struve was born in Altona, Schleswig-Holstein. To avoid conscription
into the German army, he fled to Estonia and studied at Dorpat (now
Tartu). He became professor there 1813, and director of the Dorpat Observatory
1817. In 1839 he became the first director of Pulkovo Observatory near
St Petersburg, and was succeeded 1862 by his son Otto Wilhelm Struve.
Struve published a catalogue of about 800 double stars 1822, and instigated
an extensive observational programme. The number of such stars known
had increased to more than 3,000 by 1827. In addition, Struve described
more than 500 multiple stars in a paper 1843.
In 1846 Struve published his observations of the absorption of stellar
light in the galactic plane, which he correctly deduced to be caused
by the presence of interstellar material.
Struve made significant contributions to geodesy with his survey of
Livonia 1816-19 and his measurements of the arc of meridian 1822-27.