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Leo Constellation

Leo (Pronounciation:Lee-o, Abbrev:Leo, Latin:Leonis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Leo takes up 946.964 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 2.3% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Lion . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Leo is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Leo is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator. The brightest star in Leo is Regulus. There are 11 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) detailed on this site.

Legend of the Constellation

Leo represents one of the labours of Hercules. He was ordered to do it as punishment for killing his wife. The lion was terrorising the area near Nemea. He killed the beast by strangling it or choking it to death. The skin was thickest of all known animals which meant all weapons were useless against it. Hercules managed to skin the Lion using tools provided to him by Athena.

Items of Interest

The brightest star in the constellation is Regulus, also refered to as Alpha Leonis. The star is multiple star system with four stars including the large blue star that makes up this system. It is one of a group of major stars known that is oval (egg) in shape. The others being Vega and Achernar. The fact that Regulus has orbiting stars could well explain its shape but Vega is a solo star.

Algieba is a double star system and also has a planet in orbit. This may sound a little like Tatooine in Star Wars where the desert planet has two stars. The bad news with Algieba is that the planet is a giant gas planet so there`s no chance of living on or finding intelligent alien life there. Aligeba is not the only star in the constellation to have planets in orbit, there is also Rasalas with a planet, still sadly unhospitable.

Wolf 359, Local Star

In astronomical speak, the constellation contains one of the closest stars to our own, Wolf 359. It is a small red dwarf star that is located to the bottom left of Regulus, near the border with the Sextants constellation. It lies a mere 7.86 light years away but unfortunately we don`t have the spaceships to travel that distance yet. Nearer stars include Proxima Centauri and Barnard`s Star.

Meteor Showers

There are 33 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Alpha Leonids13-Jan - 13-Feb24/31 JanRegulus
Delta LeonidsFeb 15 - Mar 10 Feb 25Zosma
Sigma Leonids9-Feb - 13 MarFeb 25 - 26Sigma Leonis
Rho LeonidsFeb 13 - Mar 13Mar 1 - 4Rho Leonis
Beta LeonidsFeb 14 - Apr 25Mar 19/21Denebola
Gamma LeonidsAug 14-Sept 12Aug. 25/26Algieba
LeonidsNovember 13-20Nov. 17/18Adhafera

Leo Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Brightest StarRegulus
Area946.964 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky2.3%
Size Position12th
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count11
Meteor Shower Count33
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsLeo Minor
Coma Berenices
Ursa Major

Leo Constellation Map

Leo Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Named Stars in Leo

StarDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Adhafera274.09+23d25`02.410h 16m 41.40
Al Jabhah1269.12+16d45`45.610h 07m 19.95
Al Minliar al Asad201.34+26d10`56.809h 24m 39.28
Algieba130.10+19d50`30.710h 19m 58.16
Algieba B+51 d 37 ` 45.018h 15m 40.06
Alterf329.13+22d58`05.009h 31m 43.24
Chertan165.06+15d25`47.111h 14m 14.44
Chi Leonis94.57+07d20`10.011h 05m 01.23
Denebola35.88+14d34`20.411h 49m 03.88
DR Leonis772.90+31d16`40.209h 41m 35.11
EO Leonis942.67+21d56`57.410h 02m 48.96
HN Leonis242.32+27d45`32.609h 58m 26.12
Iota Leonis77.22+10d31`46.911h 23m 55.37
Nu Leonis499.48+12d26`41.409h 58m 13.39
Omega Leonis108.18+09d03`24.409h 28m 27.38
Phi Leonis184.17-03d39`05.511h 16m 39.76
Pi Leonis406.18+08d02`39.410h 00m 12.82
Psi Leonis610.79+14d01`18.109h 43m 43.90
Ras Elased Australis246.72+23d46`27.409h 45m 51.10
Rasalas124.11+26d00`25.509h 52m 45.96
Regulus79.30+11d58`01.910h 08m 22.46
Regulus B+11 d 59`4810 h 08m 12.8
Regulus C+11 d 59`4810 h 08m 12.8
Rho Leonis5436.06+09d18`23.710h 32m 48.68
Sigma Leonis220.08+06d01`45.711h 21m 08.25
Subra130.31+09d53`32.609h 41m 09.12
Tau Leonis562.35+02d51`22.611h 27m 56.23
Upsilon Leonis181.50-00d49`25.911h 36m 56.93
Wolf 3597d 00' 52.010h 56m 28.99
Xi Leonis215.57+11d18`00.109h 31m 56.79
Zosma58.43+20d31`26.511h 14m 06.41

Objects of Interest (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Leo

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
M105 Elliptical GalaxyElliptical Galaxy30.400-33.600+12:3510h 47m 8
M65 Spiral GalaxySpiral Galaxy41.000-42.000+13:0511h 18m 9
M66 Spiral GalaxySpiral Galaxy31.000-41.000+12:5911h 20m 2
M95 Spiral GalaxySpiral Galaxy31.200-34.000+11:4210h 44m 0
M96 Elliptical GalaxyElliptical Galaxy38000+11:4910h 46m 8

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