- A prominent pattern or group of stars, typically having a popular name but smaller than a constellation.
- A group of three asterisks (⁂) drawing attention to following text.
“Eagle-eyed amateur astronomers should be able to see several asterisms without a telescope tonight.”
“I see a flashing light to the left of that asterism.”
“Each section in the text is separated by an asterism.”
Greek, late 16th century
Why this word?
While the Big Dipper is one of the most recognizable groupings of stars in the night sky, it’s not actually a constellation. Instead, the seven stars of the Big Dipper are an asterism, a smaller group of stars located within the constellation of Ursa Major. “Asterism” comes from the Greek “asterismos,” with “astēr” meaning “star.”
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