Born into the famous Russian astronomer Struve family, Otto Struve began his career in the USA as a staff member at Yerkes Observatory, investigating stellar spectroscopy. Later, he focused mainly on binary and variable stars, stellar rotation and interstellar matter. He established the presence of hydrogen in interstellar space, a discovery that played significant part in the development of radio astronomy.
Part of the legendary Struve family of astronomers, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve is best remembered for his research on double stars, or binary stars. The winner of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Struve had fled Germany and moved to Denmark and to Russia, to avoid military service.