AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Classical Cepheids After 228 Years of Study

Volume 40 number 1 (2012)

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David G. Turner
Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3, Canada; turner@ap.smu.ca

Abstract

A review is presented of much of our current observational knowledge of classical Cepheids. Outlined are the basic observational parameters of Galactic Cepheids derived over the past 228 years, with emphasis on current trends and ongoing problems. Although the calibration of the Cepheid period-luminosity (PL) relation has normally made use of variables in the Magellanic Clouds, presently that can be accomplished using only Galactic Cepheids. It is also possible to calibrate the PL relation without recourse to observations, given that their fundamental properties are well enough understood.