Sternberg Institute

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Sternberg Institute

(glossary entry)


The Department of Lunar and Planetary Research of the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute in Moscow was one of the major centers of lunar research in the Soviet Union, and continues to be one in modern Russia.

Additional Information

  • The Institute's name (occasionally spelled Shternberg) honors, Pavel Shternberg, after whom a crater on the Moon is also named.
  • The Sternberg Institute is abbreviated GAISH or GAISh (from its Russian spelling) or SAI (in English). It is also sometimes referred to as GAISH MGU, the last three letters denoting the Institute's affilitation with Moscow State University.
  • The GAISH lunar program came into prominence in 1959 in connection with Yu. N. Lipsky's interpretation of the first photos of the Moon's farside from Luna 3.
  • GAISH MGU was the lead agency for the analysis of results from most later Soviet lunar probes.
  • Some of the names and feature identifications proposed on the maps prepared from the Luna 3 photographs were accepted by the IAU in 1961, although a number of them were later moved or redefined.
  • Researchers at GAISH MGU also directed preparation of the Complete Map of the Moon presented to the IAU in 1967, and revised in 1969. Due principally to uncertainties about the quality and consistency of the underlying imagery, the IAU chose to defer official naming of farside features until 1971, but many of the names proposed on these maps were used at that time -- although rarely in the proposed locations.
  • GAISH MGU continues an active program in many areas of lunar research, integrating Earth- and space-based observations.
  • Vadislav V. Shevchenko, GAISH MGU's director since 1978, is both a member of the IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature and Chairman of its Task Group for Lunar Nomenclature.

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