Constellations: Leo Minor 'the Lesser Lion'
Created | Updated Jan 20, 2018
Camelopardalis | Cancer | Canes Venatici | Canis Major | Canis Minor | Capricornus | Carina | Cassiopeia | Centaurus
Cepheus | Cetus | Chamæleon | Circinus | Columba | Coma Berenices | Corona Australis | Corona Borealis | Corvus
Crater | Crux | Cygnus | Delphinus | Dorado | Draco | Equuleus | Eridanus | Fornax | Gemini | Grus | Hercules | Horologium
Hydra | Hydrus | Indus | Lacerta | Leo | Leo Minor | Lepus | Libra | Lupus | Lynx | Lyra | Mensa | Microscopium | Monoceros
Musca | Norma | Octans | Ophiuchus | Orion | Pavo | Pegasus | Perseus | Phoenix | Pictor | Pisces | Piscis Austrinus
Puppis | Pyxis | Reticulum | Sagitta | Sagittarius | Scorpius | Sculptor | Scutum | Serpens | Sextans | Taurus
Telescopium | Triangulum | Triangulum Australe | Tucana | Ursa Major | Ursa Minor | Vela | Virgo | Volans | Vulpecula
Where now is the lions' den,
the place where they fed their young,
where the lion and lioness went,
and the cubs, with nothing to fear?
– Nahum 2:11
|Name:||Leo Minor (Latin: 'little lion')|
|Area:||232 sq deg|
|Co-ordinates1:||Right Ascension 10h, Declination +35°|
This spring constellation was created by Johannes Hevelius (1611 - 1687). It is one of seven star formations he created which are included in the internationally recognised list of modern constellations. These were published in his 1690 atlas Firmamentum Sobiescianum. He is said to also have named 46 Leonis Minoris 'Praecipua' because it was the principal star in his new constellation. Leo Minor is located between the constellation Leo and the back paw of Ursa Major 'the Great Bear'. You will need dark skies to see this constellation as all the stars are less than +3.8 in magnitude.
There is no Greek mythology connected with this constellation; however, the Arabs said that Leo had scared a group of gazelles with his roar and these stars were their tracks as they raced to safety.
The brightest star in Leo Minor has a number given by John Flamsteed (1646 - 1719). There is no alpha Leo Minoris as the creator of this constellation was borrowing stars from other patterns in the sky. The table below contains Flamsteed numbers.
|Star||Name||Catalogue No||Brightness (m)||Distance
|31 LMi||Beta Leonis Minoris||HR4100||4.21||146||G9|
The New General Catalogue, by J Dreyer, was published by the Royal Astronomical Society in the late 19th Century. It was expanded to include two Index Catalogues (IC). This list of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies was revised again in 1973, and is continually updated by the NGC/IC Project.
|Catalogue No||Class||Brightness (m)||Distance
Extrasolar planets are worlds which orbit stars outside our own Solar System. HD 87883 b is a superjovian world orbiting an orange dwarf star at over 3AU distance. HD 82886 b is another superjovian planet, it completes an orbit of its star in 705 days.
Hanny's Voorwerp was discovered in Leo Minor in 2007. This strange object was named after its discoverer, Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel. It is thought to be a 'cosmic ghost', a brand new celestial object never witnessed before.
Down to Earth
Unlike Simba in Disney's Lion King this small lion will not grow up to replace Leo. He is forever consigned to second place. In the wild lions often live in groups called prides, and according to National Geographic are an endangered species. Some people have likened their pets to a small lion.