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Posthumous Paper Resolves Century-Old Mystery of How Stars Evolve

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Angela Skipper
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Chances are you ve never heard of Allan Sandage, but the late astronomer was a major figure in 20th century astronomy, particularly known for his work on how stars evolve.

Late in life, he discovered two other scientists had beaten him to that breakthrough, but died before he could finish investigating.

His posthumous paper correcting the historical record has just appeared in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Gamow and Adams had arrived at their insight based on a catalogue of more than 4,000 stellar classifications and distances, prepared over the course of 20 years at Mount Wilson Observatory.

So Gamow s insight never led to any academic paper.

If this very real discovery of sub giants had been recognised at the time, we could have increased the speed at which stellar evolutionary theory was developed, Beaton said in a statement.

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Angela Skipper
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