International Star Registry

All Constellations

Bootes - Herdsman

Bootes is a large constellation and easily located. To find Arcturus, the brightest northern star, just extend the handle of the Big Dipper to the big, orange-colored bright star. Arcturus is in the knee of Bootes. Izar, meaning girdle, is at the waist of Bootes. A brilliant meteor shower of 100 meteors per hour eminates from the head of Bootes between January 1st and January 4th.

Sometimes Bootes is called Arctophylax, or the bear guard. He was misunderstood by these mythmakers. He was actually chasing the bear, not guarding it.

The ancient Greeks called this constellation Lycaon, a name derived from “wolf.” The Hebrews called it Caleb Anubach, the “barking dog.” The Latins called it Canis, among other names.

If we go back to the time when Taurus opened the year and Virgo was the fifth zodiacal sign, we find the brilliant star, Arcturus, so remarkable for its red and firey appearance, corresponding with a period of the year just as notable for its heat.

Pythagoras, who introduced the true system of the universe into Greece, got his information on that subject from the Egyptian, Oenuphis, a priest of On. This college of the priesthood was the noblest of the east in cultivating the studies of philosophy and astronomy. Among the high honors Pharaoh bestowed upon Joseph was “a son of the priest of On.” The supposed era of the book of Job, in which Arcturus is repeatedly mentioned is 1513 B.C.

Some claim Bootes is really Iacchus (Baccus), who was killed by shepherds for intoxicating them. Others say he’s the same chariot inventor, Ericthonius. According to the Grecian fable and later authorities, Bootes was the son of Jupiter and Callisto and was really named Arcas.

Ovid says Juno was steamed at Jupiter for his partiality to Callisto and changed her into a bear. Her son, Arcus, who became a famous hunter, one day unexpectedly roused a bear. Not knowing the bear was his mother, he was about to kill it when Jupiter luckily snatched them both up to heaven and enshrined them as constellations.

In a work called “Pharsalia,” Lucan says:

“That Brutus, on the busy times intent,

To virtuous Cato’s humble dwelling went,

When bright Callisto, with her shining son,

Now half that circle round the pole had run.”

Right Ascension 02:23
Diameter (°)19
Area (square °)907
Opposition Apr 28
Size Rank 13rd
Brightness Rank 7th