SkyEye

Leo

The Lion

Abbreviation: Leo
Genitive: Leonis
Origin: [antiquity]

The constellation of Leo

Leo is a member of the zodiac. This is one of the most ancient of constellations, with the Mesopotamians having a similar constellation 4000 years ago. The Greeks identified it as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Heracles as one of his Twelve Labours.

The asterism of the 'Sickle', looking like a backwards question mark, is comprised of the stars ε Leo, μ Leo, ζ Leo, γ Leo, and η Leo and α Leo.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Leonids This November meteor shower is the fastest of all such events because the meteors are colliding with Earth practically head-on. They can be very bright and most leave trains. Associated with comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle which reached perihelion in January 1998, this shower was particularly exciting for the next few years. Indeed, this meteor shower is notorious for its intense, periodic storms which occur at 33-year intervals (the period of its associated comet). In 1966, observers in the western United States were treated to the sight of 40 meteors per second! The radiant is in the asterism of the 'Sickle'.
α Leo Regulus This is the faintest of the first magnitude stars. It sometimes appears as Kalb (from the Arabic al‑kalb al‑asad meaning 'the heart of the lion') in older star atlases and catalogues. In Hindu astronomy, it is known as Magha, from the Sanskrit māgha meaning 'the magnificent'.
β Leo Denebola This star appears as Al Serpha (from the Arabic al‑ṣarfa meaning 'the weather changer') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium. In Hindu astronomy, it is known as Uttara Phalguni, from the Sanskrit uttara phālgunī meaning 'the second reddish one'. It is near CT1133, one of the first pulsars discovered in 1968.
γ Leo Algieba This star appears as Menkib al Asad (from the Arabic al‑mankib al‑asad meaning 'the shoulder of the lion') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium. A telescope will reveal its binary nature.
δ Leo Zosma This star sometimes appears as Duhr (from the Arabic ẓahr al‑asad meaning 'the back of the lion') in older star atlases and catalogues. In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Xicixiang, from Xī Cì Xiàng meaning 'the second western minister'. In Hindu astronomy, δ Leo and θ Leo together are known as Purva Phalguni, from the Sanskrit pūrva phālgunī meaning 'the first reddish one'.
ζ Leo Adhafera Adhafera becomes three unrelated stars when viewed through binoculars.
θ Leo Chertan This star sometimes appears as Chort or Coxa (from the Latin coxa meaning 'the hip') in older star atlases and catalogues. In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Xishangxiang, from Xī Shàng Xiàng meaning 'the first western minister'.
λ Leo Alterf
μ Leo Rasalas This star sometimes appears as Rasalasad Borealis in older star atlases and catalogues.
ο Leo Subra
HD 96063 Dingolay This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
HD 99109 Shama This ninth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
HD 100655 Formosa This star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
HD 100777 Sagarmatha This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
Wolf 359 This star is just under 8 light years away from the Sun, making it one of the the closest stars to the solar system. Despite its proximity, it cannot be seen with the naked eye.
M65 This spiral galaxy appears elliptical through a small telescope.
M66 Dark dust lanes and bright star clusters along its spiral arms mark out this spiral galaxy.
M95 This is a barred spiral galaxy.
M96 Leo is full of spiral galaxies!
M105 A massive black hole lurks at the heart of this elliptical galaxy.
C40 This spiral galaxy is located between the stars Chertan and Zosma.