Constellations and Asterisms

I love it so much how here in Aotearoa New Zealand the sea surrounds me from all directions, the sky is darker than dark and the stars are so very bright. This hemisphere is is a magical water-world that holds the reflection of the night sky, which here descends from all directions, all the way to the horizon. The only signposts of the night are the patterns of the stars. We call these ASTERISMS (roughly from ‘aster’ which in Latin means star) and are made of the brightest stars in a constellation.

Constellation versus asterismDEL
The Constellation of Delphinus is everything inside the white shape. The asterism of the dolphin is marked by the light blue-green line

The modern constellations which are patches of the sky, just like countries are on Earth, take their name from the associated asterism’s image. Asterisms are dot to dot doodles – they’re the patterns on the celestial firmament.

Some asterisms are very small, like the Pleiades, some other stretch across many constellations, like it is here in New Zealand the waka of Tama Rereti.