Home Deepsky Atlas TheAstronews Links Solar System
HAS Logo

Hawaiian Astronomical Society

Constellations: Boötes -- Hunter of his Mother, or Inventor of the Plough?


One story of Booetes identifies him as Arcas, the son of Callisto and Zeus. You can read that story by clicking here. One only needs to add that Booetes is Arcas before his transformation, and that Arcturus (Alpha Booetis) is named after him, meaning "keeper of the bear."

Booetes itself comes from the Greek, meaning "ox driver." Not just any ox driver, of course, but the first one who thought of attaching a plough to his ox, thus making farming a lot easier. The gods rewarded him with a place in the sky for his efforts.

Thus, we picture Booetes in two ways: First, hunting his mother, Ursa Major, with the aid of his dogs. Second, ploughing the sky with the help of the Big Dipper, known in some areas as the Plough. Unfortunately, we don't know where his ox is.


Each map can be clicked on to produce a 909x1199 version of it. They sport red labels, which look good on screen, but which disappear when used with red flashlights. Each map, therefore has a second link to a map better suited for printing in a graphics program, and using in the field. While the maps are quite large, they are all about 25-55k, and so are easy to view at today's modem speeds. The first map is a wide area view of the constellation, suitable for naked eye browsing. The next views are binocular width, showing stars to mag. 10, and labeling deepsky objects to magnitude 12.

Interactive, wide area map of Booetes

Map thumbnail

Click the map for a 909x1199 version of the above. Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.

Northern Booetes

Map thumbnail

This a more detailed view of the constellation. The map displays stars to magnitude 10, and deepsky objects to magnitude 12. Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.

South-east Section

Map thumbnail

Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.

South-west Section

Map thumbnail

Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.


Image thumbnail 73k JPEG NGC5248 (Caldwell 45) is a bright (mag. 10.7), large (6.8'x5'), elongated (P.A. 110°), spiral galaxy with a bright core. Larger scopes should look for the bright patch of nebulosity in a bright lens. Also, several dark lanes. You find it in the far south-west corner of the constellation, and in the bottom, left of the picture. IC900 is the mag. 13.8 spiral galaxy in the upper, right. Many other galaxies inhabit the picture.
Map Printable Map


If you have any questions about the Hawaiian Astronomical Society
please (link requires javascript).

Return to top of page

Return to Deepsky Atlas home page

Return to HAS home page