Stars of Leo Constellation
The head and mane of Leo are formed by an asterism known as the Sickle, which looks rather like a backward or reverse question mark. Alpha Leonis, one of the brightest Spring stars, was named Regulus or "Little King" by the astronomer, Copernicus. It stands at the base of the Sickle and marks its handle.
Though generally referred to in modern times as Regulus, this star was bettern known in antiquity as Cor Leoinis or the Lion's Heart. Regulus is a white-blue triple star, sometimes referred to as the "Regulator of Heaven," which does indeed mark the heart of the Lion and was once thought to oversee affairs on Earth as well as ruling the heavens.
To the Persians, Regulus was one of the four "Guardian Stars." It is also known as the "Royal Star" and "Kingly Star," being associated in many ways with kings on Earth.
Thus, both Regulus and the constellation of Leo itself have become a cherished symbol of monarchy...found on the Royal Coat of Arms in England, for instance.
Deep sky objects in Leo Constellation
Leo contains many bright galaxies, Messier 65, Messier 66, Messier 95, Messier 96, Messier 105, and NGC 3628 are the most famous, the first two being part of the Leo Triplet.
The Leo Ring, a cloud of hydrogen and helium gas left over from the Big Bang, is found in orbit of two galaxies found within this constellation.
Leo Constellation Myth
Leo is the Nemean Lion which was killed by Hercules on one of his great quests. Legend says that the lion had a hide that could not punctured by iron, bronze or stone. Since he couldn't reason with the ferocious beast, Hercules strangled it to death and the local people were very grateful.
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