Gérard Henri de Vaucouleurs


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French-Americanastronomer. In 1953, from the distribution galaxies brighter than mag. 12.5, he inferred the existence of the local supercluster. Also in the 1950s he studied the structure and rotation of the Magellanic Clouds. With his first wife Antoinette de Vaucouleurs, née Piétra (1921–87), he published the Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies (three editions, 1964–91), which collated different types of data from many sources. This work was linked with his exploration of the cosmological distance scale. His use of many different ‘standard candles’ led to a value of the Hubble constant of around 100 km/s/Mpc, higher than the 50 km/s/Mpc then being proposed by A. Sandage and others. He also studied the planets, notably Mars.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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