5 Other Patterns

An Asterism is a star pattern within a Constellation, but not an official Constellation. These are even more like connecting the dots or stars than the constellations.Some examples of Asterisms within the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor include the commonly named Big and Little Dippers. In other parts of the world, they have been called the Cart, Plow, and the Drinking Gourd.

Another example of an Asterism is the Pleiades, within the Constellation Taurus. It is often called the Seven Sisters. In Japan the Pleiades is called Subaru. The Navajo referred to it as Dilyehe, and Hawaiians call the star grouping Makahiki or many little eyes .

Constellation Ursa Major—the Big Dipper
Image of Constellation Ursa Major—the Big Dipper, with all star names. These include Alkaid, also known as Benetnash, Alioth, Megrez, Phecda, Dubhe, and Merak.
GFDL and CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image courtesy of Luigi Chiesa.
Ursa Minor—the Small Dipper
This is a celestial map of the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear or Small Dipper. The yellow dashed lines are constellation boundaries, the red dashed line is the ecliptic, and the shades of blue show Milky Way areas of different brightness. The map contains all Messier objects; Cepheus, Polaris, Camelo paradalis, and Draco
Public Domain | Image courtesy of Torsten Bronger.

Consider this…

“Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night and we watch television.”

Pawl Hawken (1946 – ) Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, and Author


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Introduction to Astronomy Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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