English edit

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

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

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

Noun edit

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, 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).

Related terms edit

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Romanian edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from French astérisme.

Noun edit

asterism n (plural asterisme)

  1. asterism

Declension edit