Cepheid

[ sēfē-ĭd, sĕfē- ]

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

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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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