Happy Wednesday! Tonight for our #WUFO Stargazing Side Quest week 67 we will be looking for the heart of a lion – Regulus in the constellation Leo!
Leo is the 12th biggest constellation in the night sky and like other zodiacal constellations, is named after an animal. Leo actually does look kinda like its namesake too! Leo is most recognizable for the formation of six stars that look like a sickle or backwards question mark. At the bottom of this formation is Regulus, the brightest star in Leo and the 22nd brightest star in the night sky.
Like Orion and Taurus, Leo is an equatorial constellation. Equatorial constellations intersect with the celestial equator which is earth’s equator extended out to space. Because of this, equatorial constellations like Leo can be seen from almost anywhere on the globe. All that visibility also means much more mythology.
To find Leo tonight start by finding the waxing crescent/almost first quarter Moon which will be in between the constellations Gemini and Cancer. While you’re here you can check out Mars which is still right in the middle of the twins Gemini. After that, follow the Moon up past the faint constellation Cancer until you find the next bright star in the sky at the bottom of what looks like a backwards question mark. This star is Regulus, the heart of the lion. The rest of the stars in the sickle-like formation and a few behind it are all in the constellation Leo.
Let us know if you find the heart of the lion tonight! Be sure to tag @stargazingsidequest and @liminal.earth with your sky pics so we can boost and celebrate your weekly achievement!
9 Equatorial Constellations Every Amateur Astronomer Should Know