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asterism (plural asterisms)
- (astronomy) An unofficial constellation (small group of stars that forms a visible pattern).
- The Big Dipper, Summer Triangle, and Orion's Belt are asterisms.
- 1825, Geo G. Carey, Astronomy, as it is known at the present day, London, p. 66 f.:
- Of the constellations, or asterisms. [...] It therefore became necessary to adopt a more general method of distinguishing them. This was accomplished by portioning out the heavens into imaginary figures, of men, birds, fishes, &c. called Constellations or Asterisms.
- 2007, Matilde Battistini and Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia (translation from Italian into English), Astrology, Magic, and Alchemy in Art, page 60:
- Like Pisces and Capricorn, Aquarius is located in that part of the sky known as "Astral Sea," a region inhabited by water asterisms such as Eridanus, Cetus (the Whale), and the Dolphin.
- 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.
- (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).
small group of stars
a star-shaped figure exhibited by some crystals