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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Alpha Leonids||13-Jan - 13-Feb||24/31 Jan||Regulus|
|Delta Leonids||Feb 15 - Mar 10||Feb 25||Zosma|
|Sigma Leonids||9-Feb - 13 Mar||Feb 25 - 26||Sigma Leonis|
|Rho Leonids||Feb 13 - Mar 13||Mar 1 - 4||Rho Leonis|
|Beta Leonids||Feb 14 - Apr 25||Mar 19/21||Denebola|
|Gamma Leonids||Aug 14-Sept 12||Aug. 25/26||Algieba|
|Leonids||November 13-20||Nov. 17/18||Adhafera|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Area||946.964 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||2.3%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||11|
|Meteor Shower Count||33|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Leo Minor|
The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.
|Adhafera||274.09||+23d25`02.4||10h 16m 41.40|
|Al Jabhah||1269.12||+16d45`45.6||10h 07m 19.95|
|Al Minliar al Asad||201.34||+26d10`56.8||09h 24m 39.28|
|Algieba||130.10||+19d50`30.7||10h 19m 58.16|
|Algieba B||+51 d 37 ` 45.0||18h 15m 40.06|
|Alterf||329.13||+22d58`05.0||09h 31m 43.24|
|Chertan||165.06||+15d25`47.1||11h 14m 14.44|
|Chi Leonis||94.57||+07d20`10.0||11h 05m 01.23|
|Denebola||35.88||+14d34`20.4||11h 49m 03.88|
|DR Leonis||772.90||+31d16`40.2||09h 41m 35.11|
|EO Leonis||942.67||+21d56`57.4||10h 02m 48.96|
|HN Leonis||242.32||+27d45`32.6||09h 58m 26.12|
|Iota Leonis||77.22||+10d31`46.9||11h 23m 55.37|
|Nu Leonis||499.48||+12d26`41.4||09h 58m 13.39|
|Omega Leonis||108.18||+09d03`24.4||09h 28m 27.38|
|Phi Leonis||184.17||-03d39`05.5||11h 16m 39.76|
|Pi Leonis||406.18||+08d02`39.4||10h 00m 12.82|
|Psi Leonis||610.79||+14d01`18.1||09h 43m 43.90|
|Ras Elased Australis||246.72||+23d46`27.4||09h 45m 51.10|
|Rasalas||124.11||+26d00`25.5||09h 52m 45.96|
|Regulus||79.30||+11d58`01.9||10h 08m 22.46|
|Regulus B||+11 d 59`48||10 h 08m 12.8|
|Regulus C||+11 d 59`48||10 h 08m 12.8|
|Rho Leonis||5436.06||+09d18`23.7||10h 32m 48.68|
|Sigma Leonis||220.08||+06d01`45.7||11h 21m 08.25|
|Subra||130.31||+09d53`32.6||09h 41m 09.12|
|Tau Leonis||562.35||+02d51`22.6||11h 27m 56.23|
|Upsilon Leonis||181.50||-00d49`25.9||11h 36m 56.93|
|Wolf 359||7d 00' 52.0||10h 56m 28.99|
|Xi Leonis||215.57||+11d18`00.1||09h 31m 56.79|
|Zosma||58.43||+20d31`26.5||11h 14m 06.41|
|M105 Elliptical Galaxy||Elliptical Galaxy||30.400-33.600||+12:35||10h 47m 8|
|M65 Spiral Galaxy||Spiral Galaxy||41.000-42.000||+13:05||11h 18m 9|
|M66 Spiral Galaxy||Spiral Galaxy||31.000-41.000||+12:59||11h 20m 2|
|M95 Spiral Galaxy||Spiral Galaxy||31.200-34.000||+11:42||10h 44m 0|
|M96 Elliptical Galaxy||Elliptical Galaxy||38000||+11:49||10h 46m 8|