Sidney Charles Bartholemew "Ben" Gascoigne AO (11 November 1915 – 25 March 2010) was a New Zealand-born Australian optical astronomer and expert in photometry who played a leading role in the design and commissioning of Australia's largest optical telescope, one of the world's most important astronomical facilities. Born in Napier, New Zealand, Gascoigne trained in Auckland and at the University of Bristol, before moving to Australia during World War II 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.
Following the war, Gascoigne and astronomer Gerald Kron used newly modernised telescopes at Mount Stromlo to determine that the distance between our galaxy 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. A major figure at Mount Stromlo
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