The Bootes Constellation is a Great Place to Name a Star

September 20, 2022

International Star Registry

NASA Image of Bootes Constellation_International Star Registry

Bootes (or Boötes) is derived from the Greek word Βοώτης, Boōtēs, which means ox driver, plowman, or herdsman. This large constellation shares borders with Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, Corona Borealis, Draco, Hercules, Serpens Caput, Virgo, and Ursa Major.

It is depicted as the herdsman holding the leash of the hunting dogs and is viewable from about 50° south of the equator and throughout the northern hemisphere. The constellation Boötes (pronounced Bu-Oh-Tays) is one of 48 Ptolemy time-known constellations and it is frequently called the “Watcher of the Bear” since it is believed that Boötes is guarding over the northern constellations of both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Greater and Lesser Bears).

Boötes has five stars with known planets and does not contain any Messier objects. There are three meteor showers connected with the Boötes: the January Bootids, the June Bootids, and the Quadrantids.

Symbol: Boo
Right Ascension: 02:23
Declination: 23
Diameter (°): 19
Area (square °): 907
Opposition: Apr 28
Size Rank: 13rd
Brightness Rank: 7th
Genitive: Boötis

Major stars in Bootes
Arcturus – α Boötis (Alpha Boötis)
Nekkar – β Boötis (Beta Boötis)
Seginus – γ Boötis (Gamma Boötis)
Izar (Pulcherrima) – ε Boötis (Epsilon Boötis)
Muphrid (Saak) – η Boötis (Eta Boötis)
Alkalurops – μ Boötis (Mu Boötis)
Merga – h Boötis (38 Boötis)
Nadlat – ψ Boötis (Psi Boötis)
τ Boötis (Tau Boötis)

Deep sky objects in Bootes
Boötes void (Great Void, Super Void)
Boötes I (Boötes Dwarf Galaxy)
NGC 5466

Mythology of the Constellation Bootes

Sometimes Bootes is called Arctophylax, or the bear guard. He was misunderstood by these mythmakers. He was actually chasing the bear, not guarding it.

The ancient Greeks called this constellation Lycaon, a name derived from “wolf.” The Hebrews called it Caleb Anubach, the “barking dog.” The Latins called it Canis, among other names.

If we go back to the time when Taurus opened the year and Virgo was the fifth zodiacal sign, we find the brilliant star, Arcturus, so remarkable for its red and firey appearance, corresponding with a period of the year just as notable for its heat. Pythagoras, who introduced the true system of the universe into Greece, got his information on that subject from the Egyptian, Oenuphis, a priest of On.

This college of the priesthood was the noblest of the east in cultivating the studies of philosophy and astronomy. Among the high honors Pharaoh bestowed upon Joseph was “a son of the priest of On.” The supposed era of the book of Job, in which Arcturus is repeatedly mentioned is 1513 B.C.

Some claim Bootes is really Iacchus (Baccus), who was killed by shepherds for intoxicating them. Others say he’s the same chariot inventor, Ericthonius. According to the Grecian fable and later authorities, Bootes was the son of Jupiter and Callisto and was really named Arcas.

Ovid says Juno was steamed at Jupiter for his partiality to Callisto and changed her into a bear. Her son, Arcus, who became a famous hunter, one day unexpectedly, roused a bear. Not knowing the bear was his mother, he was about to kill it when Jupiter luckily snatched them both up to heaven and enshrined them as constellations.

In a work called “Pharsalia,” Lucan says:

“That Brutus, on the busy times intent, To virtuous Cato’s humble dwelling went, When bright Callisto, with her shining son, Now half that circle round the pole had run.”

  • Q. What is Bootes?

  • A. Boötes is the 13th largest constellation in the night sky, occupying an area of 907 square degrees.
  • Q. What time of year is Bootes most visible?

  • A. Bootes is best seen in the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Q. Are there any celebrities with stars named in the Bootes constellations?

  • A. A few of them include David Letterman, Michael Jackson and Pamela Anderson