Science: Striking Discovery

Three times between 1962 and 1965, French astronomers reported that apparently ordinary dwarf stars had emitted extremely bright and unprecedented potassium flares. As evidence, they pointed to three different dwarf-star spectrograms made at the Haute Provence Observatory in Southern France. They showed inexplicably strong potassium-emission lines.

Puzzled, a group of University of California astronomers ran their own tests at California's Lick Observatory. No luck. Then someone had a bright idea. While working with the same spectrographic equipment that the French had used to examine the dwarf starlight, one of the astronomers struck...

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