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Boötes, the herdsman, is one of the 88 modern constellations and was also one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy. It contains the fourth brightest star in the night sky, Arcturus.

The constellation is located between 0° and +60° declination, 13 and 16 hours of right ascension on the celestial sphere.


Meaning in Englishthe Herdsman
Right ascension15 h
Visible to latitudeBetween 90° and -50°
On meridian9 p.m., June 15
 - Total
Ranked 13th
907 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Arcturus (α Boötis)
Meteor showers
Bordering constellations

Table of contents
1 Notable features
2 Notable deep sky objects
3 Mythology

Notable features

The name of Arcturus, the alpha star of Boötes, means bear driver. It is a zero magnitude red giant and is the fourth brightest star as seen from Earth in the night sky. It is one of the vertices of the Spring Triangle, the other two being SpicaVirginis) and Denebola (β Leonis).

Izar (ε Boo), having an apparent magnitude of 2.7, is the third brightest star in the constellation. It is actually a binary and has a companion of 5.12m.

The meteor shower Quadrantids within this constellation is named after the defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis (which is now a part of Boötes).

Notable deep sky objects


The exact person who Boötes is supposed to represent is not clear. According to one version, he was a man (name would be helpful) who was robbed by his brother of everything he had. He then wandered all over the earth. At one point, he invented the plough, which is seen in the constellation, as are the two oxen which pulled it. It was also said to be Icarius, who was killed by some shepherds after they believed he poisoned them (it was really wine; they had never been intoxicated before).