Interesting Facts About Leo the Constellation

There are many interesting facts about Leo the constellation. Leo is one of the more easy to recognize constellations. In the northern hemisphere it is quite pronounced in the spring and in the southern hemisphere it is much more visible in the fall. Leo is shaped like a crouching lion facing westward. The head and mane are made up of a sickle of stars shaped like a backwards question mark.

Some additional facts about Leo:

  • The brightest star is Regulus. Regulus is south of the pointer stars in the Big Dipper and northwest of Virgo. Regulus is 75 times larger than the sun and is 83 light years from Earth.
  • March 1st is approximately Leo’s midnight culmination.
  • The early Mesopotamians associated the sun with the lion. Around 5,000 years ago during the height of the Mesopotamian civilization the sun’s passage at midday through this part of the sky coincided with the midsummer solstice. Leo was then the constellation of high summer, the realm of the sun.
  • A record of Leo being recognized by ancient peoples was found in the Dendera zodiac, and was found in Dendera which is about 60km north of Luxor on the Nile River. The Dendera zodiac is thought to date from the time when Cleopatra ruled Egypt in the first century BCE. The Dendera shows a lion in the area of the sky that we associate with Leo.
  • In approximately 240 BCE, the astronomer-priest under the reign of Ptolemy III stole the tail off of Leo to put into the newly invented constellation Berenice’s Hair, or Coma Berenices.
  • The other stars in Leo are Subra, Chertan, Zosma, Algieba, Denebola, Al Minliar al Asad, and Alterf.
  • Leo is the fifth of the twelve zodiac constellations.
  • Leo is the 12th largest constellation overall and covers an area of 946.964 square degrees
  • The Leonids meteor shower takes it’s name from Leo as the meteors radiant is located within the constellation which makes it look like the meteor shower is coming from the constellation.
  • The time of year when it is easiest to spot is April at around 11 p.m.
  • In Greek mythology, Leo is known as the Nemean Lion. It is said that Hercules placed the lion in the sky after her killed it.

I hope you enjoyed these interesting facts about Leo the constellation.