Boo - Bootes the Herdsman or Bear Driver

  • Boo - Bootes the Herdsman or Bear Driver

    Size

    13 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Skywatchers have long-repeated the catch-phrase "Arc to Arcturus" (Arc-TUR-us). Follow the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle to the fourth brightest star in the sky. Arcturus belongs to the ancient constellation Bootes (BOW-oh-tees). Look for a pentagon above Arcturus forming the torso of the herdsman.

    Some prefer to see Bootes as a one-scoop ice cream cone. Just to one side lies Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. With bright Gemma ("Jemma") in its center, like a second scoop of ice cream that melted in the heat of summer and fell off the top.

  • CVn - Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs

    Size

    38 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Lies under the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle.

    One of the seven constellations created by the Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, in 1687.

    Two hunting dogs of Bootes the Herdsman, named Asterion (Starry) and Chara (Joy). They are chasing Ursa Major.

    The brightest star is Cor Caroli, "heart of Charles," to honor King Charles I of England (martyred in the bloodless revolution of the seventeenth century).

     

    Star Clusters

    M3 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.3.

     

    Galaxies

  • CrB - Corona Borealis the Northern Crown

    Size

    73 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    A semicircle of stars between Bootes and Hercules, featuring the bright star Gemma (jewel). To locate the Northern Crown, find Arcturus and Vega, the two brightest stars in the northern hemisphere. Draw a straight line between them and you will find not only the mighty Hercules, but the splendid Corona Borealis.

    Gemma is the center jewel in the Northern Crown, the constellation’s brightest star.

    Corona Borealis is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

  • Dra - Draco the Dragon

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    8 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Draco occupies over 1,000 square degrees in the sky as it winds from the Pointers of Ursa Minor nearly to Vega in Lyra. Yet it has no bright stars.

    Draco is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    To the Babylonians, Draco was Tiamat, a dragon killed by the sun god in the creation of the world.
    To the Greeks, Draco guarded the Golden Apples of the Sun in a magical garden.

     

    Special Stars

  • Her - Hercules the Hero

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    5 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Located between Ophiuchus and Draco. Look for the Keystone, a trapezoid of four stars.

    Hercules is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    Legendary hero who performed dozens of labors.

     

    Asterisms

    Keystone

     

    Star Clusters

    M13, Great Cluster (Globular cluster), mag. 5.9.
    M92 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.4.

     

    Galaxies

    M13, bright globular cluster.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ser - Serpens the Snake

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    23 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Located in the hands of Ophiuchus, Serpens is the only constellation divided into two parts: Serpens Caput (=head) and Serpens Cauda (=tail), with Ophiuchus between them.

    Serpens brought Ophiuchus an herb that could revive the dead.

    Serpens is included in the ancient star catalog of Ptolemy, but not in the catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos and Aratos of Soli.

     

    Star Clusters

    M5 (Globular cluster), mag. 6.1.
    M16, Star Queen or Eagle Nebula (Galactic cluster), mag. 6.6.

     

     

  • UMa - Ursa Major the Big Bear

    Size

    3 of 88

    Regions

    Intro and Visual description

     

    Ursa Major or the Big Bear is the third largest of the 88 constellations. Seven stars form a familiar group of stars, or an "asterism" within the constellation. In America they are called the "Big Dipper" or "Drinking Gourd," and in Britain the "Plough" or the "Wain." The Big Dipper is one of the most easily recognizable groups of stars in the sky. It is referred to as circumpolar because it never completely sets below the horizon, but is visible in northern skies year-round.
    Three stars make up the Big Dipper’s handle, and four stars make its bowl.

  • Vir - Virgo the Maiden

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    2 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    Continue past Arcturus on the curve from the Dipper’s handle ("Arc to Arcturus, then speed on to Spica"). To "Speed on to Spica," go the same distance as it took to reach Arcturus. If it’s not below the horizon, Spica is the brightest star of the constellation Virgo the Maiden. Although Virgo is the second largest constellation in the sky, the rest of its stars are faint. Yet don’t be surprised if you often see a bright visiting planet nearby.

    Virgo is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.