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


From Ancient Greek ἀστερισμός (asterismós, group of stars), from ἀστήρ (astḗr, star). Analyzable as aster- +‎ -ism


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈæs.təˌɹɪz.əm/
  • (file)


asterism (plural asterisms)

  1. (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.
  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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Borrowed from French astérisme.


asterism n (plural asterisme)

  1. asterism