Definition of cepheid in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsēfēəd/ /ˈsef-/
(also cepheid variable)


A variable star having a regular cycle of brightness with a frequency related to its luminosity, so allowing estimation of its distance from the earth.
Example sentences
  • Shapley also pointed out in that paper that the noted increase in the distance of the clouds explains the ‘failure of the persistent Harvard searches for cluster-type cepheids in the Magellanic Clouds and their globular clusters.’
  • The size and age of the expanding Universe is calculated by astronomers on the basis of winking stars called cepheids, the nearest of which is 1000-2000 light years away.
  • Several hundred cepheid variables are known in our Galaxy.


Early 20th century: from the name of the variable star Delta Cephei, which typifies this class of stars.

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