Asterism (astronomy)

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A group of bright blue and white stars. They are called the Coathanger, in the constellation Vulpecula.
Flag of Australia
The Big Dipper seen from Fujian

An asterism is an observed pattern or group of stars in the sky. Constellations are based on asterisms, but asterisms can be any pattern or group of stars. They are a more general concept than the 88 constellations of the IAU. Several countries use these patterns in their flags.

  • The area of the southern cross is known as the constellation Crux. In this case the asterism and the constellation are more or less the same thing.