Template:Infobox Constellation Botes, a name deriving from Egypt, is one of the 88 modern constellations and was also one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy. Botes is generally referred to as the Bear Watcher, since it appears to be watching over the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. It contains the third 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.


Notable features

The name Arcturus, the alpha star of Botes, means bear driver. It is a zero magnitude red giant and is the third 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 DenebolaLeonis).

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

τ Botis is known to be orbited by a planet.

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

Notable deep sky objects

NGC 5466 is a loose globular cluster that can be observed with most telescopes. It was discovered by William Herschel on May 17, 1784.


Including the fainter stars, Botes appears to be a large human figure, looking toward Ursa Major [1] (http://borghetto.astrofili.org/costellazioni/bootes.JPG). Exactly whom Botes is supposed to represent is not clear. According to one version, he was a ploughman who drove the oxen in the constellation Ursa Major using his two dogs Chara and Asterion (from the constellation Canes Venatici). The oxen were tied to the polar axis and so the action of Botes kept the heavens in constant rotation.

Botes was also supposed to have invented the plough. This is said to have greatly pleased Ceres, the goddess of agriculture who asked Jupiter to give Botes a permanent fixture in the heavens as a reward for doing this.

Another version portrays Botes as a grape grower called Icarius, who one day allowed the Roman god Bacchus, also called Dionysus, to inspect his vineyards. Bacchus revealed the secret of wine making to Icarius, who was so impressed by this alcoholic beverage that he invited his friends round to sample it. Having never tasted wine before, they all drank too much and woke up the next morning with terrible hangovers; and they made the mistaken assumption that Icarius had tried to poison them. It was decided that Icarius should pay the price with his own life, and he was swiftly murdered in his sleep. Bacchus placed Icarius in the stars to honor him.

Following another reading the constellation is identified with Arcas, son of Zeus and Callisto. Arcas was brought up by his maternal grandfather Lycaon, to whom one day Zeus went and had a meal. To verify that the guest was really the king of the gods, Lycaon killed his grandson and prepared a meal made from his flesh. Zeus noticed and became very angry, transforming Lycaon into a wolf and gave back life to his son.

In the meantime Callisto had been transformed into a she-bear, by Zeus' wife, Hera, who was angry at Zeus' infidelity. When he was grown up, Arcas met with the she-bear and, since obviously he didn't recognize her as his mother, he began to chase Callisto. Callisto, followed by Arcas, sheltered herself in a temple, a sacred place whose profaners were convicted to death. To avoid such fate, Zeus decided to set them in the sky, Arcas as Botes and Callisto as Ursa Major.

This is a rare version of the myth surrounding Ursa Major, as the myth usually holds that Arcas is transformed into a bear as well (becoming Ursa Minor), and in such versions Botes has no part. Ursa Minor, and Ursa Major, are constellations whose identification only originated in later classical Greece, and in Rome, and as such Botes kept separate associations dating from much earlier.

Botes was considered to be Atlas by some ancient greek legends, as well as those in other early mediterranian cultures, since it takes an appropriate position in the sky (its arms near the pole star, but its body standing on/near the ecliptic). As such, together with earlier interpretations of other constellations in the zodiac sign of libra (i.e. of Draco (constellation), Ursa Major and Ursa Minor it may have formed the origin of the myth of the apples of the Hesperides, which forms part of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.


Stars with proper names:
  • Arcturus or Haris-el-sema (16/α Boo) -0.05
    < αρκτούρος Bear guard
    < ? al-haris as-sama The keeper of heaven
  • Nekkar [Nakkar] or Meres [Merez] (42/β Boo) 3.49
    < mistranscription of بقّار baqqār Cattle driver
  • Seginus [Segin, Ceginus] or Haris in Becvar (27/γ Boo) 3.03
  • Izar or Mirak [Mirach, Mirac] or Pulcherrima or Mizar (36/ε Boo) – double 2.35, 2.70
    < إزار izār Girdle
    <  ? al-maraqq ?
    < pulcherrima Most beautiful
  • Muphrid [Mufride, Muphride, Mufrid] (8/η Boo) 2.68
    < مفرد الرامح mufrid ar-rāmiħ The (single) one of the lancer
  • Merga [Marrha], El Mara el Musalsela or Falx Italica (38/h Boo) 5.79
    < المرأة المسلسلة al-mara[tu] al-musalsalah The chained woman
    < falx ītalica Bill hook
Stars with Bayer designations:
49/δ Boo 3.46; 30/ζ Boo – double 3.78, 4.43; 17/κ Boo 6.62; 19/λ Boo 4.18; 51/μ2 Boo 6.51; 52/ν1 Boo 5.04; 53/ν2 Boo 4.98; 37/ξ Boo 4.54; 35/ο Boo 4.60; 29/π1 Boo 4.49; 29/π2 Boo 5.58; 25/ρ Boo 3.57; 28/σ Boo 4.47; 4/τ Boo 4.50 – has a planet; 5/υ Boo 4.05; 48/χ Boo 5.28; 43/ψ Boo 4.52; 41/ω Boo 4.80; 46/b Boo 5.67; 45/c Boo 4.93; 12/d Boo 4.82; 6/e Boo 4.92; 22/f Boo 5.40; 24/g Boo 5.58; 44/i Boo 4.83; 47/k Boo 5.59; A Boo 4.80
Stars with Flamsteed designations:
1 Boo 5.73; 2 Boo 5.63; 3 Boo 5.97; 7 Boo 5.71; 9 Boo 5.02; 10 Boo 5.76; 11 Boo 6.23; 13 Boo 5.26; 14 Boo 5.53; 15 Boo 5.29; 18 Boo 5.41; 20 Boo 4.84; 26 Boo 5.91; 31 Boo 4.86; 32 Boo 5.55; 33 Boo 5.39; 39 Boo 5.68; 40 Boo 5.64; 50 Boo 5.38

Template:ConstellationsListedByPtolemy Template:ConstellationList

External links

Template:Commons The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Bootes (http://www.allthesky.com/constellations/bootes/) de:Brenhter es:Botes fr:Bouvier (constellation) ko:목동자리 id:Botes it:Botes la:Bootes nl:Botes ja:うしかい座 pl:Wolarz (gwiazdozbir) pt:Botes ru:Волопас (созвездие) sk:Shvezdie Pastier fi:Karhunvartija th:กลุ่มดาวคนเลี้ยงสัตว์


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