Byurakan Observatory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Byurakan Observatory
Alternative names Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory Edit this at Wikidata
Named after Victor Ambartsumian Edit this on Wikidata
Organization Armenian Academy of Sciences
Observatory code 123
Location Mount Aragats, Armenia
Coordinates 40°19′51″N 44°16′06″E / 40.33083°N 44.26833°E / 40.33083; 44.26833
Altitude 1,400 m (5,000 ft)
telescope 2.6 m Cassegrain reflector 40°19′49″N 44°16′24″E / 40.33028°N 44.27333°E / 40.33028; 44.27333
telescope 1 m Schmidt reflector
telescope 50 cm Schmidt reflector
Byurakan Observatory is located in Armenia
Byurakan Observatory
Location of Byurakan Observatory
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, or Byurakan Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the Armenian Academy of Sciences. It is located on the slope of Mount Aragats in the village of Byurakan in Armenia.


Founded in 1946 by Viktor Hambardzumyan, it was one of the main astronomy centers of the USSR. The buildings were designed by architect Samvel Safarian. The hotel, central building and structures are for astronomical instruments.[1] The observatory has discovered special star clusters - stellar associations (1947),[1] more than 1,000 flare stars, dozens of Supernovae, hundreds of Herbig-Haro objects and cometary nebulae, hundreds of galaxies. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the observatory fell into hard times.

The first conference was held in November 1951 on the topic of stellar associations. On 19 September 1956 a major meeting on non-stable stars was held.[1] It has been the site of two major conferences on SETI, and is recognised as the regional center for astronomical research.[1]

Directors included V.A. Ambartsumian till 1988, E.Ye. Khachikian till 1993, H.A. Harutyunian from 1993 to 1994, and A.R. Petrosian from 1994-1999. Khachikian returned as director from 1999-2003 and Harutyunian also returned after this.[1]


Byurakan Observatory's main telescope is a 2.6 m cassegrain reflector, along with a 1 and .5 m Schmidt camera as well as other smaller telescopes.


The First Byurakan Survey commenced in 1965 using the Schmidt telescope. It revealed 1500 galaxies with ultraviolet excess known as the Markarian galaxies.[1] These galaxies are designated "Markarian" or "Mrk" followed by a number, for example Mrk 501.

The Second Byurakan Survey, 1974 to 1991[2], looked for emission line and ultraviolet excess galaxies, and quasars as well[1].



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Massaro, Enrico; Mickaelian, Areg; Nesci, Roberto; Daniel Weedman (2008). The Digitized First Byurakan Survey (PDF). ISBN 978-88-548-2421-8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26.
  2. ^ Erastova, L. K; Stepanian, J. A; Chavushyan, V. H (1997). "The Second Byurakan Survey: Galaxies". Wide-Field Spectroscopy. Astrophysics and Space Science Library. 212. pp. 321–324. doi:10.1007/978-94-011-5722-3_60. ISBN 978-94-010-6413-2.

External links[edit]