Leo


Leo


English nameLion

Major
stars
alpha LeonisRegulusmagn. 1,3RA: 10h 08m 22.35sDec: +11 58' 02.0"
beta LeonisDenebolamagn. 2,2RA: 11h 49m 03.66sDec: +14 34' 19.6"
gamma LeonisAlgiebamagn. 2,6RA: 10h 19m 58.30sDec: +19 50' 30.2"
delta LeonisZosmamagn. 2,6RA: 11h 14m 06.48sDec: +20 31' 25.5"
delta Leonismagn. 3,1RA: 09h 45m 51.08sDec: +23 46' 27.2"
theta LeonisChertanmagn. 3,4RA: 11h 14m 14.41sDec: +15 25' 46.6"

DescriptionConstellation of the zodiac, through which the Sun transits from the middle of August to the middle of September. It is situated to the south of Ursa Maior.

Alpha Leonis, Regulus (that is "little king"), is a white-blue star 85 light-years away, with a light emission about one hundred and fifty times more intense than that of the Sun. But the most interesting star of the constellation is without doubt Algieba, a double composed by two orange giants of magnitude 2,3 and 3,5, which rotate round each other with a period of about 600 years, at a distance of 170 light-years from us.

M65Leo has a big number of galaxies: they all, however, are too weak for small instruments. The brightest galaxies are M65 (here on the left) and M66, two spiral galaxies of ninth magnitude; more weak are M95, a barred spiral galaxy, and M96, a spiral galaxy.


Mythology
and history
The constellation represents the lion that lived in a cavern near the city of Nemea, next to Corinth. It was a fierce and invulnerable beast, since its skin couldn't be transfixed by any weapon. During his first labour, Hercules confronted and killed it by suffocating it with the strength of his arms: then the hero used the beast's claws to detach its skin, that he used as garment.


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