Astronomical Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences

The Astronomical Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences was founded in 1953, when the state observatory on Skalnaté Pleso (founded in 1943 by Dr. Bečvář) got a status of astronomical institute and became one of the founding institutes of the newly born Slovakian Academy of Sciences. In memories of past and current employees, the institute and the observatory on Skalnaté Pleso were always blended in one and therefore one could consider for the year of the institute foundation already the 1943. Currently, it has its headquarters at Tatranská Lomnica.[1]

Headquarters of the astronomical institute.

Field of research and organization of the instituteEdit

Astronomical and meteorological station on the Lomnický štít (working since 1960), which is the third highest summit of Slovakia.

The institute focuses its research on the Sun, interplanetary matter (comets, meteoroids, asteroids) and on astrophysical research of variable and chemically peculiar stars. It has about 65 permanent employees of which roughly 50 are active researchers. It is divided into 3 departments: [2]

Department of Solar PhysicsEdit

Interest in solar atmospheric activity led the department to focus on many processes in the solar photosphere, chromosphere and corona based on spectral line analysis using observational data from the Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT) on Tenerife and utilization of data from Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), including their own coronal observations. The head of the department is Aleš Kučera.

Department of Interplanetary MatterEdit

Research employs photometry and astrometry of asteroids and comets using the main telescope of Skalnaté Pleso observatory. Furthermore, fish-eye cameras are used to detect bolides on the sky. The head of the department is Ján Svoreň.

Stellar Physics DepartmentEdit

This department is focused on binary and multiple stellar systems. Its research employs spectroscopy and utilization of synthetic spectra and stellar databases from space-based observatories like HST, Hipparcos and the TYCHO catalogues. The head of the department is Drahomír Chochol.

Facilities of the InstituteEdit

The institute has mountain observatories at Skalnaté Pleso, Lomnický štít and a theoretical department in Bratislava (founded in 1955), which is a statewide coordinating body for research of interplanetary matter. Moreover, it runs several full-sky photographic chambers (bolide cameras) which are part of European bolide network.

The astronomical observatory at Skalnaté Pleso (1783 m) was founded in 1943. It is equipped with a 61 cm astrometrical and photometric reflector with a CCD camera and a 60 cm photometric reflector. The astronomical station on Lomnický štít (2632 m) has been active since 1960. It is equipped with a 20 cm coronograph and a spectrograph. In the headquarters of the astronomical institute at Tatranská Lomnica a 60 cm reflector and a solar horizontal spectrograph are located.

Directors of the instituteEdit


Highlights of the instituteEdit

The astronomical institute participated on discoveries of the following comets: [4]

Observatory on the Skalnaté Pleso (founded in 1943).
Name Label Date of the discovery Brightness at the discovery (mag)
Pajdušáková-Rotbar-Weber C/1946 K1 30. 05. 1946 7
Bečvář C/1947 F2 27. 03. 1947 9
Mrkos C/1947 Y1 20. 12. 1947 9,5
Pajdušáková-Mrkos C/1948 E1 15. 02. 1948 10
P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková 45P 03. 12. 1948 9
Pajdušáková C/1951 C1 04. 02. 1951 8,5
P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák 41P 24. 04. 1951 10,5
Mrkos C/1952 H1 27. 04. 1952 10
Mrkos C/1952 W1 28. 11. 1952 10
Mrkos-Honda C/1953 G1 12. 04. 1953 9
Pajdušáková C/1953 X1 03. 12. 1953 11
Vozárová C/1954 O1 28. 07. 1954 9
Kresák-Peltier C/1954 M2 26. 06. 1954 10
Mrkos C/1955 L1 12. 06. 1955 3,5
P/Perrine-Mrkos 18D 19. 10. 1955 9
Mrkos C/1956 E1 12. 03. 1956 9
Mrkos C/1957 P1 29. 07. 1957 3
Mrkos C/1959 X1 03. 12. 1959 8

Five astronomers participated in the discoveries: Antonín Mrkos, Ľudmila Pajdušáková, Ľubor Kresák, Antonín Bečvář and Margita Kresáková. From 70 comets discovered worldwide between 1946–1959, 18 were discovered from the observatories at Skalnaté Pleso and Lomnický štít.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Prečo sme, prečo sme tu a kto sme?". 12 September 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Všeobecne o astronomickom ústave". 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Directors of the Astronomical Institute". 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Objavy a fyzika komét". 9 September 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2009.

External linksEdit