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Asterisms are sub- or supersets of constellations which build a constellation itself, or a group of stars, physically related or not. Best known is the Big Dipper as a part of the Great Bear. But there are more than just this one.

The "Markov 1" Asterism in Hercules
By Paul Markov
Update - July 2003: The "Markov 1" asterism (pictured below) is included in the book "Star Clusters" by Archinal and Hynes on page 145.

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The Teapot asterism in Sagittarius
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asterism - a prominent pattern or group of stars, typically having a popular name but smaller than (and not officially recognized as) a constellation; an example of an asterism is the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus ...

A group of stars that people informally associate with each other to make a simple pattern, such as the Big Dipper and Square of Pegasus. The stars in an asterism can come from one or more official constellations.

Asterism - A group of stars that appear to make a recognizable shape, such as the Big Dipper.
Asteroid - A large rocky object, also called a minor planet or planetoid. Most asteroids orbit the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

A pattern formed by a collection of stars within a constellation.

A large piece of rock, generally between 100 metres and several hundred kilometres across. Also known as a minor planet.

Named group for stars not identified as constellations
Asteroids ...

Asterism. A pattern of stars larger than a cluster but smaller than a constellation. Examples of an asterism would be Orion's Belt, or The Hyades in Taurus.

Asterism, star gems such as star sapphire or star ruby.
Aura, a phenomenon in which gas or dust surrounding an object luminesces or reflects light from the object.

asterism: any prominent star pattern that isn't a whole constellation (such as the Big Dipper).
astronomical unit: the average distance from Earth to the Sun, slightly less than 93 million miles.

Planetary nebula
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Asterism M73. NOAO/
AURA/NSF [larger image]
to see, but the forth (magnitude 12) is difficult, even when using averted vision.
+ The Sky This Month + Sky Highlights ...

Asterism (typography)
In typography, an asterism is a rarely used symbol consisting of three asterisks placed in a triangle . It is used to call attention to a passage or to separate subchapters in a book....
Linguistics ...

asterism ((astronomy) a cluster of stars (or a small constellation))
celestial longitude; RA; right ascension ((astronomy) the equatorial coordinate specifying the angle, measured eastward along the celestial equator, ...

An especially noticeable star pattern in the sky, such as the Big Dipper.
asteroid ...

An asterism is a collection of stars (within a constellation) that forms an apparent pattern from Earth. Some familiar asterisms include the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Pleiades, Trapezium, and the Summer Triangle.

An asterism is a recognizable group of stars within a constellation, or which may comprise stars of more than one constellation. The Big Dipper is an example. It's made of a subset of stars of the constellation Ursa Major.

The asterism of a gigantic skewed "S" was seen in many ancient cultures as a scorpion, possibly handed down by cultural conquest or influence.

10: An asterism is a pattern of stars that are widely recognized and contained within an official constellation but is not counted as a true constellation in itself.

There are also asterisms, smaller apparent star patterns within a constellation, like the Big Dipper (in Ursa Major), the Little Dipper (in Ursa Minor), Keystone (in Hercules), and the Pleiades (in Taurus).
The 88 Constellations: ...

asterism The configuration of stars or "catch figure" used to identify a constellation. Example: the Big Dipper is the asterism for Ursa Major.

This Y-shaped asterism in Aquarius was noticed by Messier on Oct. 4, 1780. It is located 120' E of M72 (see finder chart below). Four members of the group are 10.5 mag., 10.5 mag., 11.0 mag. and 12.0 mag. ...

An "unofficial" constellation is also called an asterism. The stars in a constellation or asterism rarely have any astrophysical relationship to each other; ...

point in a solar orbit apogee the outermost point in a terrestrial orbit apparent magnitude (m) the magnitude of a celestial object as seen by the observer appulse the apparent closest approach of two celestial bodies asterism a ...

The handle of the Dipper is the Great Bear's tail and the Dipper's cup is the Bear's flank. The Big Dipper is not a constellation itself, but an asterism, which is a distinctive group of stars.

Look to the northeastern part of Ophiuchus to find an exquisite five-star vee-shaped asterism that for awhile was its own constellation.

To the star group M 73 belong four stars forming an asterism. Three of the stars are of 11th magnitude, the fourth is even weaker, of 12th magnitude. They look like a tiny nebulosity which is why they were included to the Messier catalog.

Astronomers refers to star patterns as "constellations" and "asterisms", while astrologers refer to star patterns as "signs".

The asterism clearly shows the chair upon which Cassiopeia sits. It looks like a shape of "W", and is a guide to find out the Polar Star like the Big Dipper.

The Big Dipper is simply a pattern (or asterism) found within the constellation of Ursa Major. According to legend, Ursa Major was once the beautiful maiden Callisto, whom the god Zeus had an affair with.

It is officially classified as an asterism. An asterism is a star pattern, and is different from a constellation. For example, the big dipper is an asterism within the constellation of Ursa Major.

Crux, with its prominent cross-like asterism, is represented on the flags of several countries, including Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. Ancient Greeks considered the stars of Crux to be part of the constellation Centaurus.

The Orion's belt is another well-known asterism - three stars in line with almost equal distance in between. The famous Orion's nebula is located at the end of his sward, which is hanging from his belt.

It is a vertex of the Winter Triangle asterism. It is a red supergiant star about 600 lightyears distant, is shown here in this Hubble Space Telescope image which represents the first direct picture of the surface of a star other than the Sun.

The constellation Cygnus contains a recognizable star pattern, or asterism, in the shape of a large cross. This asterism is called the Northern Cross. The star in the center of the crossbar is called Sadr.

That word is "asterism". In ancient times, people saw asterisms and made up all kinds of stories about mythological creatures and characters which they associated with the star patterns.

The six or seven stars visible to the naked eye form a tight grouping of stars (an asterism) near the even closer Hyades cluster. They are easily visible in the summer months from the southern hemisphere.

For example, while deep-sky observing a few years ago I came upon what appears to be an unreported open cluster in Auriga near the asterism of the Kids.

When Bayer published his hugely influential catalog, Uranometria, in 1603, he included 12 new southern asterisms. Asterisms are informal yet distinctive groupings of stars.

The asterism itself is composed of the ten or so brightest stars you see; the rest are background stars. It's most likely not a true cluster; that is, the stars may be at different distances and not physically associated with one another.

Leo's head and mane are formed by an asterism known as the Sickle which looks like a backward question mark. One of the brightest spring stars, Regulus (Latin for "little king"), is at the base of the question mark.

In most cases the stars in constellations and asterisms are each very different distances from us, and only appear to be grouped because they lie in approximately the same direction.

(129) "Constellation" or "Asterism"?
(130) "Position of the Stars when I was Born"
(134) Eclipse of Venus?

One of the four stars in the asterism known as the Great Square of Pegasus (Alpheratz, Scheat, Markab, Algenib) (The NW corner star.)
Phecda ...

The diagram at left is a schematic of where the hubble looked for the 1995 Deep Field image. The constellation (really an asterism) outlined is the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major the Great Bear.

M51, The Whirlpool galaxy is a galaxy found in the constellation of Canes Venatici, very near the star Alkaid in the handle of the saucepan asterism of the big dipper. Easily found with binoculars or a small telescope. The discovery [...] ...

Cygnus contains the asterism known as the Northern Cross and marks one side of the "Great Rift" in the Milky Way, a series of dark obscuring dust clouds which stretches on through the constellation Sagittarius.

310, Astronomer Royal Qian Luozhi had a bronze celestial globe made with stars that were color-coded as to their source. From the Han Dynasty, there are carvings that show constellations and asterisms with stars linked to delineate the various ...

However, it is the most recognisable of all constellations for those who can see it, mainly because of the asterism formed by the seven brightest stars.

See also: See also: Constellation, Star, Sky, Astro, Magnitude

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