"She felt like stout Cortez or Sir James Jeans on spotting yet another white dwarf"
Bronze bust of Hernán Cortés in Madrid
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBronze bust of Hernán Cortés in Madrid - Credit: Luis Garcia, Wikimedia Commons

Binary star system with a 'white dwarf'
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBinary star system with a 'white dwarf' - Credit: Nicholas Thibault, Wikimedia Commons
 Hernán Cortez (or Cortés) (1485-1547) was an early 16th century conquistador,  partly responsible for the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

James Hopwood Jeans (1877-1946) was an astronomer, physicist and mathematician.  A white dwarf is a small, hot, very dense star which is approaching the end of its lifespan.