asterism

[as-tuh-riz-uhm]
noun
1.
Astronomy.
a.
a group of stars.
b.
a constellation.
2.
Mineralogy. a property of some crystallized minerals of showing a starlike luminous figure in transmitted light or, in a cabochon-cut stone, by reflected light.
3.
three asterisks ( or ) printed to draw attention to a passage it precedes.

Origin:
1590–1600; < Greek asterism(ós) a marking with stars. See asterisk, -ism

asterismal, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
asterism (ˈæstəˌrɪzəm)
 
n
1.  three asterisks arranged in a triangle (̄⁂ or ), to draw attention to the text that follows
2.  a starlike effect seen in some minerals and gemstones when viewed by reflected or transmitted light
3.  a cluster of stars, which may be a subset or a superset of a constellation
 
[C16: from Greek asterismos arrangement of constellations, from astēr star]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

asterism
1590s, from Gk. asterismos "a marking with stars," from aster "star" (see astro-). Any grouping of stars, whether a constellation or not. The well-known "Big Dipper" is an asterism, not a constellation.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
asterism   (ās'tə-rĭz'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
A conspicuous star pattern that is not recognized as a constellation. Asterisms may constitute a part of a larger constellation, as in the case of the seven stars in Ursa Major that make up the Big Dipper, or they may be formed of individual stars in several different constellations, as in the case of the Summer Triangle, made up of Deneb (in Cygnus), Altair (in Aquila), and Vega (in Lyra).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The asterism is the result of silky rutile inclusions.
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