constellationˌkɒn stəˈleɪ ʃən
configuration, constellation (noun)
an arrangement of parts or elements
"the outcome depends on the configuration of influences at the time"
a configuration of stars as seen from the earth
An arbitrary formation of stars perceived as a figure or pattern.
An image associated with a group of stars.
Any of the 88 officially recognized regions of the sky, including all stars and celestial bodies in the region.
The configuration of planets at a given time (notably of birth), as used for determining a horoscope.
A wide, seemingly unlimited assortment.
a configuration or grouping
In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, which are patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky. There are also numerous historical constellations not recognized by the IAU or constellations recognized in regional traditions of astronomy or astrology, such as Chinese, Hindu and Australian Aboriginal.
A constellation is an area on the celestial sphere in which a group of stars forms an imaginary outline or pattern, typically representing an animal, mythological person or creature, or an inanimate object.The origins of the earliest constellations likely go back to prehistory. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, creation, or mythology. Different cultures and countries adopted their own constellations, some of which lasted into the early 20th century before today's constellations were internationally recognized. The recognition of constellations has changed significantly over time. Many have changed in size or shape. Some became popular, only to drop into obscurity. Others were limited to a single culture or nation. The 48 traditional Western constellations are Greek. They are given in Aratus' work Phenomena and Ptolemy's Almagest, though their origin probably predates these works by several centuries. Constellations in the far southern sky were added from the 15th century until the mid-18th century when European explorers began traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. Twelve ancient constellations belong to the zodiac (straddling the ecliptic, which the Sun, Moon, and planets all traverse). The origins of the zodiac remain historically uncertain; its astrological divisions became prominent c. 400 BC in Babylonian or Chaldean astronomy,. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formally accepted the modern list of 88 constellations, and in 1928 adopted official constellation boundaries that together cover the entire celestial sphere. Any given point in a celestial coordinate system lies in one of the modern constellations. Some astronomical naming systems include the constellation where a given celestial object is found to convey its approximate location in the sky. The Flamsteed designation of a star, for example, consists of a number and the genitive form of the constellation name. Other star patterns or groups called asterisms are not constellations per se, but are used by observers to navigate the night sky. Asterisms may be several stars within a constellation, or they may share stars with more than one constellation. Examples of asterisms include the Pleiades and Hyades within the constellation Taurus and the False Cross split between the southern constellations Carina and Vela, or Venus' Mirror in the constellation of Orion.
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