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Boötes

The Herdsman

Abbreviation: Boo
Genitive: Boötis
Origin: [antiquity]

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, the name of one of them, Quadrans Muralis (the mural quadrant), devised by Jérôme Lalande in 1795, lives on every January when the Quadrantid 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. In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Dajiao, from Dà Jiăo meaning 'the great horn'. In Hindu astronomy, it is known as Swati, from the Sanskrit svāti meaning 'very good'.
β Boo Nekkar This star appears as Merez in Antonín Bečvář's Atlas of the Heavens — Ⅱ Catalogue 1950.0. The derivation of the name is unknown.
γ Boo Seginus This star appears as Haris (from the Arabic ḥāris al‑shamāl meaning 'the guardian of the north') in Antonín Bečvář's Atlas of the Heavens — Ⅱ Catalogue 1950.0. In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Zhaoyao, from Zhāo Yáo meaning 'the twinkling indicator'.
ε Boo Izar A small telescope reveals this object to be a binary star of contrasting colours. It sometimes appears as Mirak (from the Arabic ʾal‑marāqq meaning 'the loincloth') or Pulcherrima (from the Latin pulcherrima meaning 'the most beautiful') in older star atlases and catalogues.
η Boo Muphrid
λ Boo Xuange This star sometimes appears as Aulad Althiba (from the Arabic al‑aulād ʾaḍ‑ḍiʿbā meaning 'the hyaena cubs') in older star atlases and catalogues.
μ1 Boo Alkalurops This is part of a multiple star which can be seen through binoculars.
38 Boo Merga
HD 131496 Arcalis This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
HD 136418 Nikawiy This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
C45 This spiral galaxy is visible only through a telescope, being eleventh magnitude in brightness.