ETYM French constellation, Latin constellatio.
One of the 88 areas into which the sky is divided for the purposes of identifying and naming celestial objects. The first constellations were simple, arbitrary patterns of stars in which early civilizations visualized gods, sacred beasts, and mythical heroes.
The constellations in use today are derived from a list of 48 known to the ancient Greeks, who inherited some from the Babylonians. The current list of 88 constellations was adopted by the International Astronomical Union, astronomy's governing body, in 1930.
A configuration of stars as seen from the earth.
In communications, a pattern representing the possible states of a carrier wave, each of which is associated with a particular bit combination. A constellation shows the number of states that can be recognized as unique changes in a communications signal and thus the maximum number of bits that can be encoded in a single change (equivalent to 1 baud, or one event). See the illustration.