Tartu Observatory’s researchers were awarded the University of Tartu Medals and a Badge of Honour
At the end of 2019, multiple researchers of Tartu Observatory were honoured with the University of Tartu Medal or a Badge of Honour.
The medals were awarded to grand old men of remote sensing Tiit Nilson, Kalju Eerme and Uno Veismann, as well as astronomer and astrophysicist Jaan Pelt and astronomer Tõnu Viik. Astronomer Urmas Haud received the University of Tartu Badge of Honour.
The main topic of Nilson’s research has been the radiation regime of vegetation cover. The views based on his research have been the foundation of a completely new field of research: the quantitative theory of the radiation regime of vegetation cover.
Eerme started his work as an astronomer and has later participated in atmospheric physics studies. He has taken part of multiple marine expeditions. Eerme also participated in the data analysis of Kosmos 215, the first satellite created for astronomy research in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
Veismann’s fields of research have been stellar photometry, atmosphere remote sensing from space, radiometry of optical radiation, and space research technology. He has also participated in many marine expeditions. In the most recent years, Veismann has mainly researched atmospheric ozone and the ultraviolet radiation of the Sun. Veismann has been the main constructor of the space equipment designed in Tõravere.
The main topic of Viik’s research has been the theoretical questions of radiation transfer in the atmospheres of stars and planets. Viik has also contributed greatly into organizing Estonian research. He was the director of Tartu Observatory during the difficult transition period from 1985 to 1999. From 2008 to 2014, Viik was the president of Estonian Naturalists' Society.
The topic of Pelt’s research has been applying statistical methods in astronomy and astrophysics. One cannot usually observe stars and other stellar objects at a certain time, but only when weather and other conditions enable to do so. Looking for patterns in such irregular time series is not an easy job. Statistical analysis of such time series has been the topic of Pelt’s research for decades.
Urmas Haud who was awarded the University of Tartu Badge of Honour has researched the structure of the Milky Way and other closer galaxies and created the models of their mass distribution. His other field of research has been giant galaxies surrounded by massive coronas, where dark matter seems to be dominant. Test bodies for the mass distribution research of those coronas can be fast hydrogen clouds and dwarf galaxies. Haud has also analyzed sky surveys of neutral hydrogen and the properties of the fast hydrogen clouds found in them.