Ben Gascoigne (1915–2010) was an optical astronomer and expert in photometry. Born in New Zealand, Gascoigne moved to Australia to work at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory at Mount Stromlo in Canberra. He became skillful in the design and manufacture of optical devices such as telescope elements. He and astronomer Gerald Kron used modernised telescopes at Mount Stromlo to determine that the distance between the Milky Way and the Magellanic Cloud dwarf galaxies had been underestimated by a factor of two. Because this measurement was used to calibrate other distances in astronomy, the result effectively doubled the estimated size of the universe. They also found that star formation in the Magellanic Clouds had occurred more recently than in the Milky Way; this overturned the prevailing view that both had evolved in parallel.
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