English namePleasant

alpha BootisArcturusmagn. 0,0RA: 14h 15m 39.85sDec: +19 11' 01.1"
gamma BootisHarismagn. 3,0RA: 14h 32m 04.70sDec: +38 18' 29.4"
delta Bootismagn. 3,5RA: 15h 15m 30.16sDec: +33 18' 53.5"
epsilon BootisIzarmagn. 2,7RA: 14h 44m 59.24sDec: +27 04' 27.1"
eta BootisMuphridmagn. 2,8RA: 13h 54m 41.09sDec: +18 23' 52.5"

DescriptionBootes is a big constellation that from equator proximities stretches itself toward the northern regions, touching Ursa Maior.

The brightest star of the constellation, Arcturus (from Greek, "keeper of the bear"), is the fourth star of the whole sky in order of brightness: it is an orange giant which is 36 light-years away from us. Arcturus is a star whose end is near: once it was probably similar to our Sun (and therefore, within some billion of years, also the Sun will become as Arcturus).

In the constellation of Bootes there are some interesting double stars. The best is without doubt Izar, nicknamed Pulcherrima (that is "very beautiful", in Latin): it is composed by an orange giant and by a green-blue companion; to separate them you need at least a 75-mm aperture and a high enlargement. Other doubles are: kappa Bootis, composed by two white stars; my Bootis (called Alkarulops, that is, from Arab, "shepherd's stick"), whose components rotate round each other with a 260-year period; xi Bootis, formed by a yellow star and an orange one.

and history
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 prepared him a dish with the Arcas' meats. Zeus notice the deception and became very angry: he transformed Lycaon into a wolf and gave back life to his son.

In the meantime Callisto had been transformed into a she-bear, or for work of Hera, Zeus' jealous wife, or for work of Zeus himself in order to subtract her to Hera's revenge. 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 her: Callisto, followed by Arcas, sheltered herself in a temple, a sacred place whose profaners were certainly convicts to death. To avoid them such fate, Zeus decided to set his son and his lover in the sky: Arcas became Bootes and Callisto was Ursa Maior.

There is another version, told by Hyginus, that identifies this constellation with Icarus, the first man to whom Dionysus taught how to make wine. For his history, see the mythology of Canis Minor.

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