Login Get Account Search [?]

Variable Stars Common Observation
Mission in Particular Areas of the Sky

1347 stars discovered as of Nov 15, 2015
News Discoveries Search Bulletin Observing Articles Classification References Tools Team

Bright and interesting Cepheids

by Ivan Adamin in July-August 2013 (#1)

Cepheids are yellow supergiant pulsating variable stars, which are probably the best-known and important of all pulsating variables. Generally, Cepheids have large amplitudes, making it possible to find them even in distant galaxies. The reason Cepheids change their brightness is believed due to pulsations mechanizm.

The term cepheid originates from Delta Cephei in the constellation Cepheus, identified by John Goodricke in 1784. But, historically, the first known representative of the class of Classical Cepheid variables is Eta Aquilae which variability was detected on
September 10, 1784 by Edward Pigott (1753 - 1825).

John Goodricke (1764 - 1786) was an extraordinary amateur astronomer. Since early childhood, he was deaf due to a severe illness. By that time, several stars were only known as variables. Among them, the Algol (Beta Persei).

He made a suggestion that apparent magnitude is changing due to eclipsing nature of the satellite motion, means the star has a companion. Years later it was confirmed, and similar variables is now known as eclipsing binaries. Goodricke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 16 April 1786, but died four days later...

Cepheids are mostly known for their period-luminosity relation discovered by Henrietta Leavitt in 1908 (published in 1912), as a result of investigation of hundreds of variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds. This important relation allowed to measure distance within the Universe.

The closest Cepheid is Polaris, but its range in visual band is only 0.02 magnitude. The Hipparcos satellite measured Polaris' parallax to be 0.00756 arc sec, giving the distance about 430 light years.

The table on the right is the list of the most interesting and easy to observe Cepheids visible from mid-nothern latitudes.

Star HD # Mag. Range (V) Period
α UMi 8890 1.86 - 2.13 3.9696
T Mon 44990 5.58 - 6.62 27.024649
RT Aur 45412 5.00 - 5.82 3.728115
ζ Gem 52973 3.62 - 4.18 10.15073
X Sgr 161592 4.20 - 4.90 7.01283
W Sgr 164975 4.29 - 5.14 7.59503
SU Cyg 186688 6.44 - 7.22 3.845547
FF Aql 176155 5.18 - 5.68 4.470916
S Vul 338867 8.69 - 9.42 68.464
V473 Lyr 180583 6.00 - 6.35 1.49078
SV Vul 187921 6.72 - 7.79 45.0121
η Aql 187929 3.48 - 4.39 7.176641
S Sge 188727 5.24 - 6.04 8.382086
X Cyg 197572 5.85 - 6.91 16.386332
T Vul 198726 5.41 - 6.09 4.435462
δ Cep 213306 3.48 - 4.37 5.366341

View Issue Contents (July-August 2013)


Free Bulletin on Variable Stars

Variable Stars Observer Bulletin is all about variable stars science. It's made by amateurs and for amateurs. Here simplified contemporary data about different aspects of variable stars research is published. The bulletin is scheduled for six issues per year.

Want to contribute an article? Feel free to contact us at:

or please simply drop an email to [ivan dot adamin at gmail dot com]

Selected Issue (#5)

Issue #5
March-April 2014

Free Online
PDF Bulletin on Variable Stars

Amateurs' Guide to Variable Stars

Download Free PDF

Read Online as e-Magazine

In this issue:
KOI-3278: A self-lensing binary star system by Ivan Adamin

BL Bootis stars - anomalous Cepheids by Ivan Adamin

A revision of NSV 13538 = NSVS 17231162 by Alexandr Ditkovsky

NSVS 11075037 = Dauban V53:
updated elements of a Mira variable in Hercules
by Siarhey Hadon

Pulsating variable stars and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
by Siarhey Hadon, Ivan Adamin

RS Puppis: the light echoes calibrate standard candles for accurate distance measurements
by Ivan Adamin

SS Lacertae: The non-eclipsing eclipsing binary by Ivan Adamin

>>View Full Contents
Statistics Overview

Variables by Constellation
Variables by Type
Variables by Magnitude
Variables by Period

Build Own Criteria
Variable Stars Observer Bulletin

Project VS-COMPAS © 2011-2014
Hosted by: hoster.by