The Constellation Leo

by Dominic Ford
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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.
Leo Leo
The constellation Leo as it appears to the unaided eye. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.




Color scheme

Brightest Objects in Leo

Hover the pointer over the name of an object to highlight its position on the starchart to the right, or click to see more information.

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Regulus (mag 1.4) Messier 66 (mag 8.9)
Denebola (mag 2.1) NGC 2903 (mag 8.9)
Algieba (mag 2.2) NGC 3521 (mag 9.1)
Zosma (mag 2.6) Messier 96 (mag 9.2)
ε-Leo (mag 3.0) Messier 105 (mag 9.3)
Chertan (mag 3.3) Messier 65 (mag 9.3)
Adhafera (mag 3.4) NGC 3628 (mag 9.4)
Subra (mag 3.5) Messier 95 (mag 9.8)
η-Leo (mag 3.5) NGC 3384 (mag 10.0)
γ²-Leo (mag 3.8) NGC 3607 (mag 10.0)
ρ-Leo (mag 3.8) NGC 3489 (mag 10.2)
Rasalas (mag 3.9) NGC 3640 (mag 10.4)
ι-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3412 (mag 10.5)
σ-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3608 (mag 10.6)
λ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3810 (mag 10.8)
υ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3338 (mag 10.9)
A-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3626 (mag 10.9)
b-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3593 (mag 10.9)
φ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3705 (mag 11.0)
κ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3193 (mag 11.0)
54-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3189 (mag 11.1)
DQ Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3646 (mag 11.2)
72-Leo (mag 4.6) NGC 2964 (mag 11.4)
χ-Leo (mag 4.6) NGC 3239 (mag 11.4)
π-Leo (mag 4.7) NGC 3301 (mag 11.4)
p²-Leo (mag 4.7) NGC 3686 (mag 11.4)
e-Leo (mag 4.8) NGC 3900 (mag 11.4)
40-Leo (mag 4.8) NGC 3596 (mag 11.5)
d-Leo (mag 4.8) NGC 2911 (mag 11.5)
τ-Leo (mag 4.9) NGC 3808 (mag 11.5)
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