> At 05:48 PM 1/26/99 -0500, Ian Goddard <Ian@Goddard.net> wrote:
> > IAN: Like rocks, galaxies are distinct *collective
> > entities* defined, as each unique galaxy is, by the
> > ordering of its members. Are galaxies confusing? Can
> > we not define "galaxy" since such is a collective
> > entity? Merriam Webster's seems to think that
> > we can. So I'm really can see your point in
> > saying "collective entity" is confusing.
> > Clearly, no problem or logical confusion with the
> > definition of "collective entity" as "the ordering
> > of individuals in a system" as been demonstrated,
> > which isn't to say that a problem can't be found.
> Can you see a fundamental difference between "galaxy"
> on the one hand, and "constellation" on the other?
Yes, a galaxy is a cluster of millions of stars orbiting a central black hole or other gravitational anomaly. A consellation is a minor arrangement of stars (more than 3, less than 40) as viewed from one specific direction which mimics the pattern of an earthly or cultural object or image. A galaxy is a galaxy no matter how you look at it. A constellation only exists when viewed from a specific angle and range of distance.