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The Night Sky - Asterisms
 

For the constellations viewable from the northern hemisphere, shapes within constellations have been commonly used. These are called Asterisms, and have been used by many as alternate names to some of the more popular constellations. A perfect example is the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper. These are Asterisms of Ursa Minor and Ursa Major. The Dippers represent the body and tail of both bears. Below is an example of some of the more popular Asterisms:

 
For the first three Asterisms, we have the Teapot (within Sagittarius), the Fish Hook (within Scorpius), and the Bull of Poniatowski (within Ophiuchus).
This image shows four more Asterisms: The W (Cassiopeia), the Square of Pegasus (within Pegasus), the Circlet (within Pisces), and Y of Aquarius (within Aquarius).
Here are seven more: Orion's Belt and Orion's sword are a part of Orion, Hyades is within Taurus, Whale's Head is a part of Cetus, the Seven Sisters is actually an open star cluster (the Pleades), Kids are a part of Auriga and the Northern Fly is a part of Ares.
Here are five more: the Big Dipper is a part of Ursa Major, the Diamond of Virgo connects Virgo to Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, and Bootes. The Sail is Corvus, the Sickle is a part of Leo, and Asses and the Manger is a part of Cancer.
Here is another four: the Little Dipper is within Ursa Minor, the Keystone is a part of Hercules, the Kite is a part of Bootes, and the Lozenge is a part of Draco.
Few southern hemisphere stars have asterisms. The ones that do are also visible from the more southern parts of the northern hemisphere. The False Cross is not a part of a constellation, and the Southern Cross is another name for Crux. The Three Patriarchs is also known as Triangulum Australe. The Southern Pointers point to the South Pole.

For some extra reading, here is a website dedicated to all of the known Asterisms: http://www.wro.org/ras/asterism.htm


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