English Name: The Lion
Hemisphere: Northern / Southern Hemisphere (Underlined means the more area in square feet in Southern Hemisphere.)
Location: Between the constellations of Virgo and Cancer.
Visible between latitudes: +90 and -65 degrees
Best season: Spring
Seen in three seasons: Winter, Spring and Summer
Best seen in: March/April
Seen between: January and June
Right Ascension (RA): 11 hour
Declination (DEC): +15 degrees
Area (square degrees): 947 (12th)
Leo (The Lion)
- Large and easily identified constellation of the Eclipitic.
- Its brightest star is magnitude +1.0 Regulus, you can find Leo in the sky by looking for the “Sickle” starting at Regulus and following the backwards question mark or a hook by an easily recognizable pattern of six stars. (To find Regulus, use the Big Dipper for the “Sickle“.)
- Leo contains many bright galaxies; there are five of Messier’s Catalog.
- The Sun passes through it from 10 August to 16 September, so better to view it in the month of April.
- M65 – Spiral Galaxy, small group of galaxies consist of the galaxies M66 and NGC 3628, also known as The Leo Triplet.
- M66 – Spiral Galaxy, small group of galaxies consist of the galaxies M65 and NGC 3628, also known as The Leo Triplet.
- M95 – Barred Spiral Galaxy, the classical example of a barred spiral galaxy in the Messier Catalog.
- M96 – Spiral Galaxy, very bright and large, little covered, suddenly much brighter, having patches in the middle.
- M105 – Elliptical Galaxy, large, round & brighter in the middle.
Features of Interest
- Leo Triplet – Probably the most interesting member of the Leo Triplet was too faint for Messier to notice. (See the drawing; NGC 3628 (bottom), M66 (top right) and M65 (top left) – all three are large sprial galaxies.)
- NGC 2903 – Other pretty spiral galaxy in Leo, which Charles Messier missed when compliling his catalog.
- Regulus (Alpha Leo)
- Denebola (Beta Leo)
- Algieba (Gamma 1 Leo)
- Zosma (Delta Leo)
- Ras Elased Australis (Epsilon Leo)
- Adhafera (Zeta Leo)
- Chort (Theta Leo)
- Al Minliar al Asad (Kappa Leo)
- Alterf (Lambda Leo)
- Ras Elased Borealis (Mu Leo)
- Subra (Omicron Leo)
- Photo of the constellation; Leo (the bright object in the centre of this photo is the planet – Jupiter), as it appears to the naked eye. (Lines have been added for clarity.)
- Sky Chart – Leo
- List of stars in Leo.
Back to The 88 Constellations Lists page.