Constellation meaning

kŏn'stə-lā'shən
The definition of a constellation is a group of stars that create a pattern in the sky.
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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) met for the first time in 1922. They picked the 88 constellations which we use today.
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In 1930, the IAU set the boundaries for each constellation so that any object in the sky is within one of these 88 constellations.
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The brightest constellation is the Southern Cross (Crux).
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The constellation with the most stars is the Water Snake (Hydra).
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The names of the major constellations are:
  • Andromeda - Princess of Ethiopia or the Chained Lady.
  • Cassiopeia - Queen of Ethiopia or Andromeda's Mother.
  • Cephus - King of Ethiopia or Andromeda's Father.
  • Cetus - The Sea Monster.
  • Corona Borealis - The Northern Crown.
  • Draco - The Dragon.
  • Eridanus - The River.
  • Hercules - Hercules (from mythology).
  • Lyra - The Lyre.
  • Perseus - The Hero.
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Asterisms are smaller star patterns inside a constellation. Here is a list of asterisms, the constellation where they are found, and the translation of the name:
  • The Big Dipper - Ursa Major - The Greater Bear.
  • The Little Dipper - Ursa Minor - The Lesser Bear.
  • The Pleiades - Taurus - The Bull.
  • The Northern Cross - Cygnus - The Swan.
  • Orion’s Belt - Orion - The Hunter.

An example of a constellation is Ursa Major.

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The configuration of planets at the time of one's birth, regarded by astrologers as determining one's character or fate.
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A gathering or assemblage, especially of prominent persons or things.

The symposium was attended by a constellation of artists and writers.

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A set or configuration, as of related items, properties, ideas, or individuals.

A constellation of demands ranging from better food to improved health care; a constellation of feelings about the divorce.

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Any cluster, gathering, or collection.
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The grouping of celestial bodies at any particular time, esp. at a person's birth.
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A group of related thoughts or feelings regarded as clustered about one central idea.
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A group of stars seen as forming a figure or design in the sky, especially one of 88 officially recognized groups, many of which are based on mythological traditions from ancient Greek and Middle Eastern civilizations.
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An area of the sky occupied by one of the 88 recognized constellations. These irregularly defined areas completely fill the celestial sphere and divide it into nonoverlapping sections used in describing the location of celestial objects.
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An image associated with a group of stars.
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(astronomy) Any of the 88 officially recognized regions of the sky, including all stars and celestial bodies in the region.
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(astrology) The configuration of planets at a given time (notably of birth), as used for determining a horoscope.
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(figuratively) A wide, seemingly unlimited assortment.
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A configuration or grouping.
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Origin of constellation

  • Middle English constellacioun from Old French constellation from Late Latin cōnstēllātiō cōnstēllātiōn- Latin com- com- Latin stēlla star ster-3 in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Middle English constellacioun, constillacioun, from Middle French constellation, from Latin constellātiō, from cōn (“with”) + stēlla (“star, astral body”).
    From Wiktionary