Cepheids

Science Dictionary
Cepheid   (sē'fē-ĭd, sěf'ē-)  Pronunciation Key 
Any of a class of variable stars whose luminosity fluctuates with an extremely regular period. There is a strong correlation between the absolute magnitude of a Cepheid's luminosity and its period. By comparing the apparent magnitude of a Cepheid to the absolute magnitude corresponding to its period, it is possible to determine fairly accurately how distant the Cepheid is from Earth. Also called Cepheid variable.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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