This dazzlingly bright star is a cosmic lighthouse

This star is RS Puppis, and it isn't just the stellar equivalent of a pretty face; it's absolutely crucial to our understanding of the universe. This is a Cepheid variable star, which in part means its brightness increases and decreases on an exact, predictable schedule. And because it's surrounded by a giant nebula… » 9/15/13 2:00pm 9/15/13 2:00pm