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Post by kosovohp on Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:04 am

Following the end of the war Woolley redirected the Commonwealth Observatory from solar research towards the study of stars and galaxies. It took time to get the old and unused telescopes back up to working condition: they had to be overhauled and refurbished, and in one case rebuilt from scrap.[1] Woolley got funding approval from the Prime Minister for construction of a 74-inch telescope, but it would not be finished for years. Gascoigne began to work in the nascent field of photoelectric photometry, using electrical devices to measure the brightness of stars more accurately than had been possible using photographic techniques. In 1951, with equipment brought by visiting astronomer Gerald Kron from California's Lick Observatory, he observed Cepheid variable stars, which are used to measure astronomical distances.[2][3] Granted nine months of observing time on the Observatory's Reynolds 30-inch reflector telescope an extraordinary opportunity Gascoigne, Kron and others surveyed Cepheid stars in both the Small Magellanic Cloud and, later, the Large Magellanic Cloud. They also examined the colours of star clusters in the Small Cloud. The research produced remarkable results: "it meant that the Magellanic Clouds were twice as far away as was previously thought, and if then the baseline is twice as long, the size of the universe is doubled."[1] It also showed that star formation in the Magellanic Clouds had occurred more recently than in the Milky Way. The results overturned the prevailing view that our galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds had evolved in parallel.[11] Gascoigne said of his work:

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