As we reach the heart of Springtime, now is perhaps the best time to locate one of the more well known members of the zodiac, Leo the Lion. After the Big Dipper, Leo is probably the most famous and arguably the brightest of the spring constellations. It is located in an area of sky away from the arms of the Milky Way, so there are fewer stars in the area, making it easier to find.
Leo is pretty easy to locate. Go outside after dark and Leo can be found passing overhead in the early evening hours. It is easy to spot Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, at the base of a backwards ? (question mark) that forms the head a mane of the lion. A right triangle of stars to the left forms the hind quarter of the lion.
Since Leo is in the shape of a lion, it is no surprise that this group of stars has long been associated with kings and royalty. It is also the symbol for the tribe of Judah.
If you have a small telescope Leo is also home to several nice galaxies. M65 & M66 join up with a third background galaxy to form a nice triplet just under the lion’s hindquarter.
Look up the next clear spring night and you might just catch a glimpse of the roaring lion in the stars.