Definition of asterism in English:



  • 1Astronomy
    A prominent pattern or group of stars that is smaller than a constellation.

    • ‘Pisces is a curious star group; the stars are dim, scattered, and don't form a distinctive asterism.’
    • ‘The chart is written on paper - a Chinese invention - and is a representation of the complete sky with some 1,585 stars grouped into 257 clusters or ‘asterisms’.’
    • ‘Cygnus - the Swan - is a cluster of stars, or asterism, easily visible in the summer skies.’
    • ‘Orion and the Great Bear are two of the most prominent asterisms visible from the northern hemisphere.’
    • ‘Orion contains an asterism or well-known star pattern called the ‘saucepan’ or ‘iron pot’.’
    • ‘They're located about 15° west-northwest of the bright red star Aldebaran, which in turn is at the end of one of the arms of a V-shaped asterism, the Hyades open cluster, which points southwest.’
    • ‘If the favourable asterism is in its ascendancy and if it alone exerts an influence over the new-born, then its good influence will increase.’
  • 2A group of three asterisks (⁂) drawing attention to a piece of text.


Late 16th century: from Greek asterismos, from astēr ‘star’.