Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 February 2013
Eclipsing binaries are powerful tools for determining the fundamental parameters of stars and, therefore, for measuring accurate, independent distances to nearby galaxies. I present distance measurements that are in progress based on early-type eclipsing binary systems in several Local Group galaxies at a range of metallicities, and discuss the strengths of the method, the limitations and possible sources of systematic error. The goal is to establish several local stepping stones along the extragalactic distance ladder, which will help calibrate the Cepheid period–luminosity relation and thus resolve the ongoing controversy about the distance scale, with its ramifications for cosmology and stellar ages.
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