Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19: Grigory Shajn


Grigory Abramovich Shajn
April 19, 1892 – August 4, 1956

Grigory Abramovich Shajn was a Soviet/Russian astronomer. In modern English transliteration, his surname would be given as Shayn, but his astronomical discoveries are credited under the name G. Shajn. Nonetheless, his last name is sometimes given as Schajn.

He was the husband of Pelageya Shajn née Sannikova, who was also a Russian astronomer.

He worked on stellar spectroscopy and the physics of gaseous nebulas. Together with Otto Struve, he studied the rapid rotation of stars of young spectral types and measured the radial velocities of stars. He discovered new gaseous nebulas and the anomalous abundance of Carbon-13 in stellar atmospheres.

He became a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1939, and was also a member of various foreign societies such as the Royal Astronomical Society. From 1945 to 1952 he was the director of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory.

The double 40-cm astrograph manufactured by the Karl Zeiss Jena firm was mounted at the Crimean Observatory in 1949. The first program was a plan by G. Shajn on a deep spectral and photometrical investigation of the Milky Way. One of the cameras was completed by an objective prism with the angle 6.9°, which registered the spectra of stars. Another camera was used to obtain direct images for stellar photometry.

He also discovered a few asteroids and co-discovered the non-periodic comet C/1925 F1 (Shajn-Comas Solá), also known as Comet 1925 VI or Comet 1925a. However, the periodic comet 61P/Shajn-Schaldach was co-discovered by his wife rather than by him.

The crater Shayn on the Moon is named in his honor.

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