Leois a large and impressive constellation that depicts a crouching lion. In Greek myth, this was the lion that hercules killed as one of his 12 labors. Leo is a constellation of the Zodiac, lying between Cancer and Virgo. The Sun passes through it from August 10th to September 16th.
Depiction: The Lion
Highest in the Sky: March to April
Size Ranking: 12th
Coverage Area: 947 Sq. Degrees
Right Acension: 11 hours
Visibility: 90°N to 59°S
Gamma Leonis: Binary star system
Trio in Leo: Triple spiral galaxies
M95: Barred spiral galaxy
M96: Spiral Galaxy
M105: Elliptical galaxy
NGC 2903: Barred spiral galaxy
NGC 3384: Elliptical galaxy
NGC 3432: Spiral galaxy
Regulus, Alpha Leonis
Denebola, Beta Leonis
Algieba, Gamma Leonis
Zosma, Delta Leonis
Ras Elased Australis, Epsilon Leonis
Adhafera, Zeta Leonis
Chertan, Theta Leonis
Alterf, Lambda Leonis
Ros Elased Borealis, Mu Leonis
Subra, Omicron Leonis
Best Viewed Objects/Stars
An easy reconizable pattern of six stars, shaped like a reverse question mark or a hook, which forms the head and chest of the lion. It consists of the stars Epsilon, Mu, Zeta, Gamma, Eta, and Alpha Leonis.
Alpha Leonis (Regulus)
The faintest of the first-magnitude stars, magnitude 1.4. It is a blue-white star about 77 light years away. Binoculars or a small telescope show that it is a wide companion of 8th magnitude.
A glorious double star consisting of two golden orange giants of magnitudes 2.4 and 3.6, which make an excellent sight through a small telescope. They are a genuine binary pair, orbiting each other every 500 years or so. Binoculars (or even sharp eyesight, show a much wider 5th-magnitude star, 40 Leonis, which is unrelated.
A wide triple formed by unrelated stars. Zeta itself is of magnitude 3.4. Binoculars show a 6th-magnitude star, 35 Leonis, to its north. Farther south is 39 Leonis, also of 6th magnitude.
A red-giant Mira variable ranging in brightness between about 4th and 11th magnitudes every 10 months or so.
M65 & M66
Two 9th-magnitudespiral galaxies visible with a small telescope. Being tilted at an angle to us, they appear elliptical.
M95 & M96
A pair of spiral galaxies visible through a small telescope as elongated smudges. They lie at similar distances to M65 and M66, namely 30-35 million light-years.