Written by Denise. Published in Zodiac signs
From the Greek-Roman mythology
The Greek mythical hero Hercules had 12 difficult tasks to perform. One task was to fight with the Nemean lion, whose skin was made of metal and stone and which devastated villages and towns near the city of Nemea.
Hercules, after a long hard fight, managed to strangle the lion with his bare hands. Then he took off its fur and hung it around himself as a coat. It served him in the future as protection from enemies. He used the lion’s head as a helmet.
Both the Lion and Hercules have been immortalized as constellations in the sky.
Looking east on a spring evening
This is how the constellation Leo looks like in the night sky. Since it is quite large Is and consists of relatively bright stars, it is easy to find. When the sun has set, the stars gradually come out. First the brightest stars become visible, the others are still missing. The stars of the lion are with the first to discover.
Some think the lion looks more like a mouse or even an iron!! How it looks to you?
Leo consists of bright stars and is easy to find in the sky. It is a spring constellation and rises in the evening in the east from February.
At the beginning of March it can be found at midnight exactly in the south. If you think of connecting lines between the stars, it is easier to imagine a lion.
Leo lies on the ecliptic and belongs to the zodiac signs. So it is passed by planets from time to time, the moon passes through it once a month, and from 11. August until 17. September the sun is in this constellation.
Then it is not observable because it is in the daytime sky together with the sun and rises and sets together with it.
Many bright stars in the sky have their own names. Less bright stars just get numbers. Regulus is the brightest star of Leo and means ‘little king’ or ‘lion’s heart’. Then we have Denebola, übranslated, it means lion’s tail, and Algieba, the mane of the lion.
Astronomers sort the stars of a constellation according to their apparent magnitudes and give them letters of the Greek alphabet. So the main star, here Regulus, is also called alpha leonis, the next brightest Denebola is called beta leonis etc.
In the following animation you can click on the stars in the white image. Below it appears the name of the star and its distance to us. In addition, the constellation can be rotated against the blue background using the arrow keys. This is how we recognize that the stars of Leo are not equidistant from us. So we have the typical view only from here. If we could travel through space, our constellations would change so much that we would not be able to recognize them anymore.
Where in the sky is the lion to be found?
Leo is a large conspicuous constellation. You can find it in the spring evening in the eastern sky. It is located exactly under the seven bright stars of the Big Dipper.
The main star Regulus forms together with Spica and Arcturus the spring triangle. Regulus lies exactly on the ecliptic. the moon and planets pass close to it or sometimes obscure it.
Another way to find the lion is the course of the moon. Since Leo is part of the zodiac, it is crossed by the ecliptic. This means that the moon passes by it every month. Astronomical yearbooks record the location of the moon for each day of the year.
So you could look up when the moon is in Leo in March/April/May. Look for the moon in the sky on that day then, and you’ll know where to find Leo. When you look up at the sky again two days later, the moon has left the constellation and gives the view.
The graphics on this page were created using the planetarium software Stellarium. This planetarium for your home PC can be downloaded and used for free.