Book of Asterisms


Ever since antiquity people have played “connect the dots” with the sky. An Asterism is simply a group of stars that has been given a name that does not include the 88 official constellations. Thus it is a named group of stars that is not a constellation. Both constellations and asterisms are the same type of thing, but asterisms are unofficial.

This is truly a “gray area” of amateur Astronomy. People make up their own asterisms. As I researched this topic, I found disagreement on several. For example, the 3 Patriarchs are listed in Triangulum Astrale and in Triangulum. From what I could find, I think the “correct” 3 Patriarchs are in T.Australe, and that is where I put them.

I would like to say that this is a definitive list, but there is no such thing. Some sources include common star names as “asterisms”. I decided that an asterism needs at least 2 stars. (The Pointers, the Horse and Rider, and others are good asterisms, but the “garnet star” is not). There are also websites where folks have made up some asterisms that they see in the sky. This is a very complete list.  These maps are all of the ones I could locate that seemed to be known by many persons. If you know of others I would be pleased to hear from you with information about them. You can send that information to johnduchek@duchekconsult.com.



This book is just for fun. I have always felt that the ancient official constellations needed a good updating. I guess I just don't have the imagination of a herdsman. For the most part, the constellations just don't look like what their names suggest. For those reasons I became interested in asterisms a few years ago, and finally decided to make a list and map of all of the ones that I could find listed in sources on the internet. Amateur astronomers find that folks at educational starparties often enjoy picking out asterisms. These can enhance their experience and this book can be a resource for those who like to point them out.

Asterisms range from large to small. The book has 2 sections, Naked-Eye Asterisms, and Telescopic and Binocular Asterisms. The T&B section has larger maps with inserts showing the asterism along with a circle to indicate scale. The diameter of the circle is shown within the insert. Larger circles (1 degree) can probably best be seen with binoculars or wide field telescopes. Smaller circled objects (Half-degree or less) may need a bit more power and a less wide field. Remember that a full moon is a half-degree wide, and the asterism may fit within the circle so an eyepiece with an appropriate field of view should be chosen with the scale in mind. Both sections are organized roughly by increasing Right Ascension as  are my other observing books.

The larger asterisms have smaller maps that show the constellations in gray and the asterism in black lines. I put as many as would conveniently fit on a single map to reduce the size and price of the book. A few are duplicated on more that one map when maps overlap.


Naked eye asterism page----------------------------------------->

Many of the asterisms have more than one name. I tried to put all of the names on the map, but one got too crowded. If you check the index, all of the names I know of are listed. The worst case is the Pleiades, which is called the Starry 7, 7 Sisters, Hen and Chicks, Old Atlas' Children.



As with my other books, I have tried to eliminate mistakes, but suspect that there are still some lurking. If you note a mistake or have difficulty reading a particular map or designation on a map, I would like to hear from you.

John Duchek Ph.D.


Telescopic/Binocular asterism map (these are 2/page)--------->


There are 100 entries in the index, but some are the same object with multiple names.  There are 16 Telescopic/Binocular items in the index (part of the 100)
The book is 9 pages and fully laminated for outdoor use and long life.
$13 includes US shipping.