asterism

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English[edit]

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The "Summer Triangle", an asterism easily seen overhead during clear summer nights (in the northern hemisphere).
An asterism

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek ἀστερισμός (asterismos, group of stars), from ἀστήρ (astēr, star).

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Noun[edit]

asterism (plural asterisms)

  1. (astronomy) A small group of stars that forms a visible pattern but is not an official constellation.
    The Big Dipper, Summer Triangle, and Orion's Belt are asterisms.
  2. A rarely used typographical symbol (, three asterisks arranged in a triangle), used to call attention to a passage or to separate subchapters in a book.
  3. (mineralogy) A star-shaped figure exhibited by some crystals by reflected light (as in a star sapphire) or by transmitted light (as in some mica).

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