asterism

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noun as·ter·ism \ˈas-tə-ˌri-zəm\

Definition of asterism

  1. 1a :  a group of stars that form a pattern in the night sky <On October evenings, when the trees have shed their leaves and stars become visible through the twigs, our best-known asterism, the Big Dipper, passes under the north pole. — George Lovi> The term asterism does not now usually refer to a constellation but to a star pattern that makes up part of a constellation or that includes stars from more than one constellation. b :  a small group of stars

  2. 2 :  a star-shaped figure exhibited by some crystals by reflected light (as in a star sapphire) or by transmitted light (as in some mica)

Origin and Etymology of asterism

Greek asterismos, from asterizein to arrange in constellations, from aster-, astēr


First Known Use: 1598


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