BEFORE the advent of the accretion theory of stellar evolution, physical theory had progressed sufficiently to suggest the transmutation of hydrogen as providing practically all the stellar energy. Astronomical evidence, especially from double stars, led to the view that there must be a further potential source of energy from outside the stars which replenished the hydrogen in the stars. The existence of interstellar matter in gaseous form in certain regions of the galaxy was known but this knowledge did not simplify the problem. The chief constituent of the cloud was regarded as calcium, and possibly other similar elements such as sodium were also present, but accretions from such elements would merely increase the mass of the star and would not prolong its life.

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    1. 1

      See Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 35, 405, 592 (1939); 36, 325, 424 (1940); and also NATURE, 146, 97 (1940) with earlier references.

    2. 2

      Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc., 36, 313 (1940); Mon. Not. Roy. Astro. Soc., 100, 500 (1940).

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    ACCRETION THEORY OF STELLAR EVOLUTION. Nature 148, 291–292 (1941) doi:10.1038/148291a0

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