Asterism



Astronomy.

a group of stars.
a constellation.

Mineralogy. a property of some crystallized minerals of showing a starlike luminous figure in transmitted light or, in a cabochon-cut stone, by reflected light.
three asterisks ( or ) printed to draw attention to a passage it precedes.
Historical Examples

The stars γ and β are pointer stars to a fifth-magnitude star the lucida of the asterism Lacerta, the lizard about 15° from β.
A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott

There is nothing of particular interest to be noted in this asterism.
A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott

In memorial of this altar an asterism was formed in the Sphere, denominated βωμος, ara.
A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume II. (of VI.) Jacob Bryant

In mythology the asterism is personified as one of the daughters of Daksha, and wives of the moon.
Nala and Damayanti and Other Poems Henry Hart Milman

On p. 291, the asterism (three asterisks forming a triangle) is represented simply three asterisks.
Adventures of the Ojibbeway and Ioway Indians in England, France, and Belgium; Vol. I (of 2) George Catlin

An individual belongs to the animal to which the asterism under which he was born belongs.
Castes and Tribes of Southern India Edgar Thurston

On a clear night the asterism Cerberus, the three-headed dog, which Hercules holds in his hand, can be seen.
A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott

Ptolemy merely calls it Ποταμοῦ ἀστερισμὸς, or asterism of the river.
Astronomical Curiosities J. Ellard Gore

This asterism is sometimes called Serpentarius, its Latin name, instead of its Greek.
The Sailor’s Word-Book William Henry Smyth

This asterism was confessedly first taken notice of by Perez or Perseus, by which is meant the Persians.
A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume II. (of VI.) Jacob Bryant

noun
three asterisks arranged in a triangle (⁂ or asterism2), to draw attention to the text that follows
a starlike effect seen in some minerals and gemstones when viewed by reflected or transmitted light
a cluster of stars, which may be a subset or a superset of a constellation
n.

1590s, “a constellation, a group of stars,” from Greek asterismos “a marking with stars,” from aster “star” (see astro-). Any grouping of stars, whether a constellation or not (though in modern use, usually the latter). The “Big Dipper” is an asterism, not a constellation.
asterism
(ās’tə-rĭz’əm)
A conspicuous star pattern that is not recognized as a constellation. Asterisms may constitute a part of a larger constellation, as in the case of the seven stars in Ursa Major that make up the Big Dipper, or they may be formed of individual stars in several different constellations, as in the case of the Summer Triangle, made up of Deneb (in Cygnus), Altair (in Aquila), and Vega (in Lyra).

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