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Wednesday 4 November 2015

Nuts and Bolts:asterism.

Always keen to share the joy of useless knowledge, how about this:


That's an asterism, an almost entirely obsolete punctuation mark. It consists of three asterisks arranged in a triangle (the point can be at the top or the bottom) and it shows a break in the text. 


Sadly, after only a few hundred years of use, people realised that an even better indication of a break in the text is, well, a break in the text: and so asterisms almost entirely died out.


Hang on, I really didn't need that asterism, did I? Bother!

The asterism is also sometimes used in place of a title (of a piece of music, for instance) or of an author.

While we're here, an asterism can also be either a star-like effect seen when you shine light into a gemstone, or group of stars that are easily recognisable from Earth but which don't make up an official constellation. Orion's belt is a well-known example - and, rather neatly, it also consists of three stars.

Piece of Almost Entirely Useless Information To Treasure Today: asterism. This word comes from the Greek asterismos arrangement of constellations, from astēr, star.

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