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Boötes, The Bear Driver Constellation Facts and Mythology

Boötes Constellation Star Map

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.

The distance to Boötes is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Boötes is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

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.

Boötes Star Facts

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.

HIP 67593, Nearest Star

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.

HIP 70093, Furthest Star

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.

HIP 71094, Dimmest Visible Star

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

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.

Boötes Mythology

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.

Quantranids Meteor Shower

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.

Furthest Quasar, ULAS J1342+0928

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

The Great Void

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.

Other Meteor Showers

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.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Lambda BootidsJan 17-18Jan 17Xuange
June BootidsJune 27-July 5Jun. 28/29Nekkar

List of Main Stars in Bootes

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.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
ArcturusAlpha Bootis36.7214h 15m 40.35+19d 11` 14.2K2IIIpOrange
NekkarBeta Bootis225.2515h 01m 56.79+40d 23` 26.3G8IIIYellow
SeginusGamma Bootis86.7914h 32m 04.76+38d 18` 28.4A7IIIvarWhite
PrincepsDelta Bootis121.7915h 15m 30.10+33d 18` 54.4G8IIIYellow
IzarEpsilon Bootis202.5914h 44m 59.25+27d 04` 27.0A0White
Zeta BootisZeta Bootis175.7314h 41m 08.92+13d 43` 42.0A3IVnWhite
MuphridEta Bootis37.1713h 54m 41.12+18d 23` 54.9G0IVYellow
Rho BootisRho Bootis160.1214h 31m 49.86+30d 22` 16.1K3IIIOrange

Boötes Facts


NameBoötes
AbbreviationBoo
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarArcturus
Brightest StarArcturus
Area906.831 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky2.2%
Size Position13th
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count13
Meteor Shower Count18
Nearest StarHIP 67593
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 128311
Largest StarArcturus
Brightest StarArcturus
Dimmest StarHIP 71094
Furthest StarHIP 70093
Bright Star Count86
Hipparcos Star Count2428
Main Star Count8
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsDraco
Ursa Major
Canes Venatici
Coma Berenices
Virgo
Serpens
Corona Borealis
Hercules

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.



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