Two great observatories, Greenwich and Pulkovo, occupy a leading place among the observatories of the world. Some scientists call Pulkovo the astronomical capital of the world.
Pulkovo is situated in a hilly area some kilometers from Leningrad. You can't get to Pulkovo by train – when the railway was being built the astronomers specially asked that it should be kept several kilometers away so that there should be no vibration to affect the sensitive instruments.
The work started in 1839, when the observatory was opened, is being continued now. This is the eternal work of astronomers – to define the precise co-ordinates of the stars, to find out the exact "addresses" of heavenly bodies.
But today the scientists also conduct a time service, they study activity of the Sun, follow the flights of the Earth sputniks and calculate their orbits. The scientists of the observatory have made a valuable contribution to the study of the cosmos by observing Soviet artificial Earth satellites, man-made moons. The study of their orbits is very important for the flights of manned spaceships.
The Pulkovo observatory has a radio-astronomy department equipped with modern apparatus. The big radio-telescope installed there is stronger than any other telescope in the world. With the help of this powerful devise the scientists of the Pulkovo observatory carry out a number of observations of Venus, Jupiter and other planets. It is necessary that before flying to other planets scientists should get the greatest possible information about the heavenly bodies.
The astronomers have obtained extremely surprising results due to radio- astronomical observation. By means of the radio-telescope some remarkable studies of the surface of the Sun and of solar activity have been made and a method of investigating the movement of planets has been worked out.
Astronomical observation and cosmic experiments are spheres of scientific research in which broad co-operation of scientists of various countries would be most effective. Soviet scientists, workers and technicians have produced and launched space rockets in the direction of the Moon, Venus and Mars and are fulfilling the noble dreams of mankind. May there be peaceful ships flying the space routes and may they serve the interests of all the people of the world!