Boötes (Pronounciation:Boo-oh-teas, Abbrev:Boo, Latin:Bootis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Boötes takes up 906.831 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 2.2% of the night sky. Boötes is the 13th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Bear Driver . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.
There are 8 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 2428 stars. There are 86 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Boötes is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Boötes is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.
There are 13 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Boötes. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Boötes is Arcturus.
There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 36.72 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 225.25 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 130.77 light years.
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
The nearest star to Earth is HIP 67593 which is roughly about 17.37 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 128311 which is about 53.82 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 70093 and it is 108721.1 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Boötes with the naked eye is HIP 71094. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.
Arcturus (Alpha Boötis) is a well known star in the heavens. It is the brightest star in the constellation hence its designation. It is an orange star and is many times larger than our own Sun but not as hot as our star, still wouldn't want to get too close to it. It is the fourth brightest star in the night sky.
The constellation of Boötes can be seen most of the year. It appears in the East-North-East direction at the beginning of the year and moves across the sky in a southernly then westerly direction. It starts to disappear at the end of August and has gone by middle of October. It returns towards the end of December, in time for the first major meteor shower of the year.
Boötes makes a small appearance in the south, starting in late-February and then rising very high before fully disappearing before August. If your were hoping on seeing the first meteor shower of the year, the Quantranids then you will be dissapointed in the southern hemisphere.
It is unclear as to who Boötes is supposed to be. One legend has him as the man who with his dogs Canes Venatici, chase the bears around the skies keeping the Earth rotating. He was also alleged to have created the Plough which pleased the agriculture goddess who asked for him to be turned into a constellation.
Another story has been being associated with Icarius who allowed Bacchus, the Roman God to visit the farm and get too drunk. In revenge of being allowed to get too drunk, he was turned into a constellation. A third story has Boötes as Arcas who was the son of Zeus and Callisto. Arcas was bought up by his mortal grandfather who later killed his grandson.. Zeus bought Arcas back to life. Callisto was turned into a bear by a very angry Hera. When Arcas was grown up he came across Callisto as a bear but didn't recognise her so he chased her as they seem to do so in the stars.
Boötes has one of the most active of meteor showers at the beginning of the solar year in January and is known as the Quadrantids. Unlike other Meteor Showers, the name isn't obvious as to what constellation it belongs to. The reason for the difference in name comes from the fact that the centre of activity used to be a now ignored constellation called Quadrans Muralis to the north of Boötes.
The Quadrantids may be the most active, 100 meteors an hour but they are also the shortest. The shower period is a brief few hours in the morning. You need to be up really early if you wish to see them.
Discoveries are always being made and old records broken. The current furthest Quasar to be discovered as of Feb 2018 is ULAS J1342+0928. The quasar is 29.36 Billion light years away from our solar system. The light that we are seeing from the quasar is from what it looked like when the universe was a mere 690 million years old. The Universe is currently reckoned to be about 13.8 billion years old. The quasar has a mass that is 800 times the solar mass of our Sun. Arxiv
One of the most interesting parts of the constellation is that it contains a Supervoid or the Great Void to give it another name. The area is nearly 250 million light years in diameter and approximately about 0.27% of the diameter of the visible universe. ref:Wiki. As its name implies, it is void of all things in the universe, there's hardly anything there compared to comparable sized areas in the universe. There are not much in the way of galaxies in this region, an area of that size should contain about 10,000 Galaxy but so far there have only been about 60 discovered. ref:IO9. It was first discovered by Robert Kirshner and his team in the 1980 and been observed every since.
There are 18 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Lambda Bootids||Jan 17-18||Jan 17||Xuange|
|June Bootids||June 27-July 5||Jun. 28/29||Nekkar|
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Boötes Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Arcturus||Alpha Bootis||36.72||14h 15m 40.35||+19d 11` 14.2||K2IIIp||Orange|
|Nekkar||Beta Bootis||225.25||15h 01m 56.79||+40d 23` 26.3||G8III||Yellow|
|Seginus||Gamma Bootis||86.79||14h 32m 04.76||+38d 18` 28.4||A7IIIvar||White|
|Princeps||Delta Bootis||121.79||15h 15m 30.10||+33d 18` 54.4||G8III||Yellow|
|Izar||Epsilon Bootis||202.59||14h 44m 59.25||+27d 04` 27.0||A0||White|
|Zeta Bootis||Zeta Bootis||175.73||14h 41m 08.92||+13d 43` 42.0||A3IVn||White|
|Muphrid||Eta Bootis||37.17||13h 54m 41.12||+18d 23` 54.9||G0IV||Yellow|
|Rho Bootis||Rho Bootis||160.12||14h 31m 49.86||+30d 22` 16.1||K3III||Orange|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||906.831 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||2.2%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||13|
|Meteor Shower Count||18|
|Nearest Star||HIP 67593|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 128311|
|Dimmest Star||HIP 71094|
|Furthest Star||HIP 70093|
|Bright Star Count||86|
|Hipparcos Star Count||2428|
|Main Star Count||8|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Draco|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|NGC 5248||Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies||+08 53 06.22||13 37 32m 069|
|NGC 5557||Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies||+36 29 37.28||14 18 25m 708|
|NGC 5714||Spiral Galaxy||130 Million Ly||46 38 22.57||14 38 9m 96|
|NGC5754||Interacting Galaxies||200 Million Ly||+38 43 52.347422916||14 45 19m 6462763998|
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