A Cepheid variable (/'s?fi??d/ or /'si?fi??d/) is a type of star that pulsates radially, varying in both diameter and temperature and producing changes in brightness with a well-defined stable period and amplitude. A strong direct relationship between a Cepheid variables luminosity and pulsation period established Cepheids as important indicators of cosmic benchmarks for scaling galactic and extragalactic distances. This robust characteristic of classical Cepheids was discovered in 1908 by Henrietta Swan Leavitt after studying thousands of variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds. This discovery allows one to know the true luminosity of a Cepheid by simply observing its pulsation period. This in turn allows one to determine the distance to the star, by comparing its known luminosity to its observed brightness. The term Cepheid originates from Delta Cephei in the constellation Cepheus, identified by John Goodricke in 1784, the first of its type to be so identified.