The Constellation Leo

by Dominic Ford
Leo Leo
The constellation Leo. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

Leo is a large equatorial constellation which represents a lion. It appears highest in the midnight sky in the months around February.

Its brightest star, Regulus lies very close to the ecliptic, the path that the Sun traces across the sky each year. The Sun passes through Leo each year between mid-August and mid-September.

North of Regulus, the lion's mane is represented by a curved line of stars of second and third magnitude.

Lying away from the plane of the Milky Way, most of the deep sky objects in this area of the sky are galaxies of ninth magnitude or fainter. Among the brightest of these are the Leo Triplet, a close grouping of three gravitationally bound galaxies: M65, M66, and NGC 3628.

In Greek mythology, Leo is identified as the lion of Nemea, slain by Hercules. Its skin was armoured against all weapons, and Hercules' arrows deflected off the beast. After strangling the monster, Hercules wore its skin as a cloak.

Date First Appeared
Sky Area
2.3% of the sky
947.0 square degrees
Messier Objects
Leo contains the following Messier objects: M65, M66, M95, M96, M105.
Caldwell Objects
Leo contains the following Caldwell object: C40.
The following constellations neighbor Leo: Cancer, Coma Berenices, Crater, Hydra, Leo Minor, Lynx, Sextans, Ursa Major, Virgo.
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Brightest Objects in Leo

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Regulus (mag 1.4) IC 656 (mag 0.0) NGC 2894 (mag 0.0)
Denebola (mag 2.1) IC 2874 (mag 0.0) NGC 2929 (mag 0.0)
Algieba (mag 2.2) NGC 2943 (mag 0.0)
Zosma (mag 2.6) NGC 3016 (mag 0.0)
ε-Leo (mag 3.0) NGC 3048 (mag 0.0)
Chertan (mag 3.3) NGC 3071 (mag 0.0)
Adhafera (mag 3.4) NGC 3121 (mag 0.0)
Subra (mag 3.5) NGC 3186 (mag 0.0)
η-Leo (mag 3.5) NGC 3213 (mag 0.0)
γ²-Leo (mag 3.8) NGC 3248 (mag 0.0)
ρ-Leo (mag 3.8) NGC 3300 (mag 0.0)
Rasalas (mag 3.9) NGC 3352 (mag 0.0)
ι-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3425 (mag 0.0)
σ-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3455 (mag 0.0)
λ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3475 (mag 0.0)
υ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3492 (mag 0.0)
A-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3524 (mag 0.0)
b-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3563 (mag 0.0)
φ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3609 (mag 0.0)
κ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3629 (mag 0.0)
54-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3645 (mag 0.0)
DQ Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3659 (mag 0.0)
72-Leo (mag 4.6) NGC 3710 (mag 0.0)
χ-Leo (mag 4.6) NGC 3743 (mag 0.0)
π-Leo (mag 4.7) NGC 3754 (mag 0.0)




Color scheme