Natalia Nikolayevna Stepanian (1931–2018)

Natalia Nikolayevna Stepanian lived until age 87 and was the oldest researcher at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory (CrAO) when she died following a long illness.

Upper body of Natalia Stepanian with a black jacket, printed blouse, and glasses
Natalia Nikolayevna Stepanian (1931–2018)

Born 22 June 1931 in Moscow, she enrolled in graduate school in 1949 at Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 1954 she began her postgraduate work at CrAO. Later, Natalia was promoted from junior researcher to the Laboratory head, when Academician A.B. Severny left his post in 1989. Her graduate thesis was defended in 1963 on the topic of metal lines and rare earth flares, and in 1984, her Doctoral thesis was a study of the evolution of activity and its prediction.

Natalia has been a member of the International Astronomical Union since 2006, and was awarded Professor, Honored Scientist of the Republic of Crimea in 2009. She has published upwards of 240 research papers and two well liked books. Natalie helped create an instrument base for solar observations. She was involved in mounting the Tower Solar Telescope BST-1 and was first in its use for spectral observations. Her contributions were invaluable in the construction of the horizontal, second tower telescope and two versions of an air-based telescope for operative prediction of flares under bad weather conditions.

The International Astronomical Union describes her research expertise in their obituary notice: "N.N. Stepanian studied behavior of the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere during flares based on field measurements in lines produced at various heights. She elaborated multi-parameter methods for predicting the evolution of active regions, which were particularly applied in operative predictions of solar activity during the flights of cosmonauts. N.N. Stepanian paid considerable attention to the organization of the Solar Service in CrAO. In the last years she was interested in problems of the evolution of large-scale structures: coronal holes, background magnetic field structures and their relation with the solar activity."

The International Astronomical Union, Obituary notice.