Friedrich Von Struve Biography - The makings of a dynasty

According to the Friedrich von Struve Biography, Friedrich was the second in dynasty of astronomers, including his son Otto Wilhelm von Struve, grandson Hermann Struve, and great grandson Otto Struve.

Life and Contributions

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve, the son of Jacob von Struve, was born on April 15, 1793 in Altona, Germany. In 1808 Jacob Struve, to avoid forced induction into Napoleon’s army, escaped with his family to Dorpat, Latvia. Friedrich entered the University of Dorpat this same year to study pilology. He earned his degree in 1811, but developed an interest in astronomy. In 1813, Friedrich von Struve became a professor of astronomy and mathematics in Dorpat.

In 1815, according to the Friedrich von Struve biography, he married Emilie Wall and together they had twelve children, four of whom died in early childhood.

In 1817, von Struve became director of the Dorpat Observatory. He then equipped it with a 9.5 inch refractor telescope which he used for his research of double stars.

Friedrich von Struve studied 3112 binary systems, discovering over 2000. He published his findings in three different works, Catalogus novus (1827), Mensurae micrometricae(1837) and Positiones mediae(1852). His works with binary stars proved Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation was a universal law and that multiple star systems weren’t rare as had previously been thought.

Upon the death of his first wife in 1834, von Struve then married Johanna Henriette Francisca Bartels. Together they had six more children.

In 1839, von Struve founded and directed the new Pulkovo Observatory near St. Petersburg. He remained here continuing his studies until he retired in 1862 due to failing health. Friedrich von Struve passed away on November 24, 1864 in St. Petersburg, Russia.


  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society – 1826
  • Full membership in the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences
  • 768 Struveana – asteroid named in honor of Friedrich von Struve, Otto Wilhelm von Struve, and Karl Hermann Struve

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