variable star


Definition of variable star

: a star whose brightness changes usually in more or less regular periods

Examples of variable star in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Betelgeuse has always been a variable star (though far less variable than at present), and there are a couple of potential causes. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New image shows Betelgeuse isn’t dimming evenly," 14 Feb. 2020 An article on Tuesday about the Vera C. Rubin Observatory misidentified the astronomer who discovered a relationship between the luminosities and periodicities of variable stars. New York Times, "Corrections: Jan. 15, 2020," 14 Jan. 2020 On top of these random events, Betelgeuse is also known to be a semi-regular variable star. The Economist, "Stellar evolution Might there soon be a supernova near Earth?," 11 Jan. 2020 Bright idea Skowron and her colleagues mapped the Milky Way in three dimensions using 2,431 classical Cepheid variable stars. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "The Milky Way is warped around the edges, new star map confirms," 1 Aug. 2019 The telescope gathered a trove of unprecedented data on the pulsations of variable stars throughout the galaxy. Quanta Magazine, "Strange Stars Pulse to the Golden Mean," 10 Mar. 2015 The scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences used this method to create a three-dimensional map of over a thousand Cepheid variable stars in our galaxy, from the innermost core to the outer edges. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Discover the Milky Way Is More Twisted and Warped Than We Thought," 5 Feb. 2019 In response to that question, researchers have turned their computation gun on a long-standing problem: why do luminous blue variable stars exist? Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Beautiful 3D model of stars explains changes in brightness," 8 Oct. 2018 So far, astronomers have estimated those distances using data from 10 well-studied, long-period variable stars in the Milky Way. National Geographic, "How 1.7 Billion Stars Were Mapped With Dazzling 3-D Precision," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'variable star.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of variable star

1788, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about variable star

Time Traveler for variable star

Time Traveler

The first known use of variable star was in 1788

See more words from the same year

Statistics for variable star

Cite this Entry

“Variable star.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on variable star

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for variable star Encyclopedia article about variable star

Comments on variable star

What made you want to look up variable star? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!