Fr.: relation période-luminosité
A → correlation between the periods and luminosities of → Cepheid variable stars: Cepheids with longer periods are intrinsically more luminous than those with shorter periods. The relation was discovered by Henrietta Leavitt in 1912 when studying Cepheids in the → Small Magellanic Cloud. Once the period of a Cepheid variable is determined from observations, the period-luminosity relation can be used to derive its luminosity. Since luminosity is a function of → distance, the distance can then be calculated with the luminosity. The period-luminosity relation is an invaluable tool for the measurements of distances out to the nearest galaxies and thus for studying the structure of our own Galaxy and of the Universe.