Viktor Amazaspovich Ambartsumian, also known as Viktor Hambardzumyan, was a scientist that most people have probably never heard of. The old Great Soviet Encyclopedia lauded his work in the former USSR, though some official Soviet documents had a tendency to blend science and politics. Nevertheless, his work on theoretical astrophysics should not be ignored.
In 1946, Ambartsumian founded the Biurakan Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences. His work often dealt with theories that attempted to quantify the emissions of gaseous nebulae. He proposed a particular method used to calculate the amount of mass that nova stars eject, as well as the outflow of star surfaces. The individual stars he studied were not regular stationary orbital bodies. These theories revolutionized the way in which people thought about the way stars exist.
Ambartsumian’s theories often involved the concept of discrete dark nebulae. According to his research, the absorption of light in interstellar deep space wasn’t caused by the attenuation of traveling along the absent medium. Instead, he believed discrete dark nebulae caused the phenomenon.
Such nebulae make the direct observation of many phenomena quite difficult. In fact, things that they obscure can only be viewed with radio or infrared astronomy equipment. That being said, they also call into question the nature of the universe. Scientists are still learning the science behind star formation but I’m sure our progress thus far would certainly make Ambartsumian proud.
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