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 NGC 3521 (mag 8.9)
Denebola (mag 2.1) IC 2874 NGC 2903 (mag 8.9)
Algieba (mag 2.2) Messier 66 (mag 9.0)
Zosma (mag 2.6) Messier 96 (mag 9.2)
ε-Leo (mag 3.0) Messier 65 (mag 9.3)
Chertan (mag 3.3) Messier 105 (mag 9.3)
Adhafera (mag 3.4) NGC 3628 (mag 9.5)
Subra (mag 3.5) Messier 95 (mag 9.7)
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 2905 (mag 10.0)
Rasalas (mag 3.9) NGC 3377 (mag 10.2)
ι-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3489 (mag 10.3)
σ-Leo (mag 4.0) NGC 3640 (mag 10.3)
λ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3412 (mag 10.6)
υ-Leo (mag 4.3) NGC 3227 (mag 10.8)
A-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3338 (mag 10.8)
b-Leo (mag 4.4) NGC 3810 (mag 10.8)
φ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3626 (mag 10.9)
κ-Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3193 (mag 10.9)
HD 94601 (mag 4.5) NGC 3608 (mag 11.0)
DQ Leo (mag 4.5) NGC 3593 (mag 11.0)
HD 97778 (mag 4.6) NGC 3507 (mag 11.0)
χ-Leo (mag 4.6) NGC 3190 (mag 11.0)
π-Leo (mag 4.7) NGC 3705 (mag 11.0)




Color scheme