The Herdsman

Abbreviation: Boo
Genitive: Boötis

The constellation of Boötes

Many ancient civilisations formed the stars of Boötes into various constellations but it isn't clear which figure from Greek mythology it is supposed to represent. Over the years several other constellations have been formed in and around Boötes but none of them survive. However, one of them, Quadrans Muralis (the quadrant), devised by Jérôme Lalande in 1795, lives on every January when the Quadrantids meteor shower comes to life.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Quadrantids Peaking at the beginning of January, these meteors are moderately bright and travel at medium speed. The radiant is in the empty reaches north of Boötes and thus is circumpolar for many northern hemisphere observers. It has been conjectured that the asteroid 2003 EH1 (which in turn may be the same object as comet C/1490 Y1) is the source of this shower.
June Boötids Slow but bright, these meteors make their presence known during the month of, surprise, June. Comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke is responsible for the show.
α Boo Arcturus The 'bear watcher' (the meaning of the name) is a first magnitude star and the brightest one north of the celestial equator.
β Boo Nekkar
γ Boo Seginus
ε Boo Izar A small telescope reveals this object to be a binary star of contrasting colours.
η Boo Muphrid
μ Boo Alkalurops This is part of a multiple star which can be seen through binoculars.
C45 This spiral galaxy is visible only through a telescope, being eleventh magnitude in brightness.