# What are the “lines” in a constellation or asterism called?

Is there a technical term for the "lines" in a constellation or asterism? Alternatively, is there an astronomy related coloquialism or any informal term that refers specifically to these lines, and not to the constellation itself?

To illustrate:

In the two examples below, what is the (most?) correct way to describe all of the green lines in the two images.

1. Argo Navis, an asterism and former constellation. Source: Wikipedia

2. The constellation of Draco. Source: Wikipedia

Further Background/Details:

I was doing some astronomy related browsing and noticed the some of the representations of the same constellation had differences between different sources. The majority were very similar, others had more significant differences.

1. Version 1

2. Version 2

3. Version 3

• Version 1 has significantly more lines included in it than Versions 2 and 3.
• Version 1 has the line between η Cygni and β Cygni, appears to go via φ Cygni.
• Version 3 has the line between η Cygni and β Cygni, goes via a star to the upper right of χ Cygni on the charts.

I want to search for more examples of the different ways the lines in the constellations have been drawn, and all my google fu has failed to produce any useful search terms. Consequently I'm hoping to find there is a term that describes the lines themselves which should be more helpful at finding material focused on the ways these lines have been drawn.

• As far as I know the iau.org defines constellations as areas of space, and the lines are unofficial. You can visit iau.org for more info. Download stellarium.org and look at "sky cultures" to see how different cultures saw pictures in the stars. Re your image w/ the blue lines: Curious George author H.A. Rey decided the normally-used constellation lines were too confusing and re-drew them to look more like the constellation names. Some feel he did a good job, others do not. – user21 Apr 23 '18 at 21:50
• @barrycarter Stellarium was something I already checked out while researching after noticing this. Toggling between the different western sky cultures was quite illustrative. Also... while the blue lined image looks a lot like the H.A. Rey version, if you look more closely, it has the “feet” drawn “wrong”, so it is yet another variation. I deliberately tried to avoid including a mention of H.A. Rey to prevent biasing answers towards the simplistic this one guy made up the “other” versions which is the most common answer i found while researching before asking this question. – Techdragon Apr 23 '18 at 23:10