Constellations being a virtual mental arrangement with groups of stars, they help us divide the sky meaningfully into parts. If we look at the sky in a clear night, group of stars form pictures and diagrams and we name them given the influence of so many factors. Leo has the fifth position out of twelve zodiac constellations. Leo is a Latin word and it means lion. It is displayed by a crouching lion that is facing towards the west. As depicted in a well know Greek mythological story, Leo was the Nemean lion that was killed by the Heracles (Hercules) and then it was placed in the sky.
This is one of the easiest constellations to view and observe in the sky. Leo constellation spreads around 946.964 square degrees and is the 12th largest constellation. The six stars that are responsible for its formation are:
1. Ras Elased
2. Ras Elased Borealis
3. Ras Elased Australis
4. Eta Leonis
5. Gamma Leonis
If you are well aware about the stars that are form the constellations, it is very easy for you to identify them.
Stars Algieba, Denebola, Regulus, Subra and Zosma most crucially comprise in making of Leo constellation and Regulus is the brightest star among all the stars. According to some astronomers, its brightness is seventy five times more than sun and it is 83 light-years away from us. Several studies show the presence of Helium and hydrogen, which are believed to be the remaining of big bang, forms the “Leo ring” which is one of the fascinating objects in Leo constellation. According to Egyptians, Leo symbolizes the power and strength and also a great hunter.
If you want to see a Leo constellation, you should follow a small number of guidelines:
- Purchase a good quality binocular.
- Go towards northern hemisphere if it is spring time whereas if it is autumn, move to the southern hemisphere.
- The most noticeable star is Regulus which is situated in the lion’s breast.
- If you are in the mid of November, then be ready for Leonids meteor storm/showers.
- The head and mane is made from sickle shape of stars.
- The best time to see Leo constellation is the month of March.
Leo constellation comprises of 5 sky objects and in general terminology, they are brighter galaxies. Astronomers identify them as M66, M65, M95, M96 and M105. M66 and M65 are nice looking twin objects when seen through telescope or powerful binoculars. M105 is not a brighter galaxy and forms a triangle with NGC 3384 and NGC 3389. Here M stands for Messier. Messier 105 galaxy has elliptical shape and has a huge black hole while M95 has spiral shape.
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