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The constellation of the lion - ( Leo )

photo of the constellation leo

Constellations are groups of bright stars which appear to form a figure in the sky. Already in ancient times ( over 2000 years ago ) people found names for these configurations which we still use today. Most of us are able to name the constellations of the zodiac or know a few other popular constellations like ' the Big Dipper' or ' Orion ' . Since, over the time, the sky was filled up with more and more figures, the International Astronomical Union arranged them to 88 official constellations in 1925.

The lion / Leo

click to view a larger mapThe Leo is one of the most recognizable constellations in the northern hemisphere. It belongs to the spring constellations and is visible in the sky on and after march. It is the fifth sign if the zodiac and surrounded of the constellations leo minor, lynx, cancer, hydra, sextans, crater, virgo, coma berenices and ursa major (s. map on the left) .

Today the sun moves through it from august 10 to september 16 .
Its position in the sky is in RA from 9h 21min to 11h 58min and in DEC from +33degree 00min to -6degree 40min. Its dimension is 947 square degree.



Stellar objects

stellar objects of the constellation leo

Regulus :

The name means 'little king'. It is a bluish-white star 77 light years away and the 25. brightest star in the sky. Its size is 1,4mag.


Aldhafera :

a white star with 3,4mag. Its distance is 260 LY.


Denebola :

is a white star with 2,1mag and is 36 LY away. Its name means ' Lion's Tail '.


Zosma :

a bluish-white star 58 LY away. It measures 2,6mag .


Coxa :

170 LY away with 3,3mag .


Algieba :

its distance to earth is 125 LY. This double star consists of 2 yellow-gold giants with 2,3 and 3,5mag . Its name means ' Lion's Mane ' .













Rasalas :

actually it is Ras Elased Australis and Ras Elased Borealis ; 2 stars at the ' Head ' of leo with 3,0 and 3,9mag and in the distance of 260 and 134 LY .

The Leonids

the leonids

The Leonid meteor shower occurs every November as the earth passes through fragments of ice and dust. The origin point of the meteors, called the radiant, is located in the western portion of Leo. That's why they are called ' The Leonids '.The Leonids are fast meteors, often traveling at speeds of over 158,000 miles per hour. The meteoroids come from a comet named Tempel - Tuttle. Every november Earth crosses the orbit of this comet, causing the Leonid shower. The comet got its name from Ernst Wilhelm Liebrecht Tempel and Horace Tuttle, which both ( independently ) discovered it on December 19, 1865 and January 6, 1866.
Once every 33 years Tempel-Tuttle visits our inner solar system and causes this impressive Leonids shower. While usually just a few meteoroids can be observed, in those years it could be thousands. One of the most memorable of these storms occurred in 1833, when tens of thousands lit up the heaven. The last shower happened on November 17, 1999.