Leo, the Lion, is one of the most conspicuous constellations of the late spring and summer. It is dominated by first magnitude star Regulus, the 21st brightest star. The star is 77 light years away, relatively close, and of spectral type B7V and of luminosity 131 times the sun. It is a 'helium' type star with a surface temperature of about 13000K. The star has an easy magnitude 8 companion some 3' away. Leo is known for its large number of bright galaxies, there being 5 bright Messier galaxies easily visible in small 'scopes, and many others visible in moderate amateur 'scopes. M95 is a classic bright barred spiral of type SBb. M96, lying 3/4 degree to the east (and visible in the same low power view as M95) is also type SBb but the bar is not obvious, although the galaxy is bright and easily visible in small 'scopes. Just north of these 2 galaxies lies another Messier galaxy, M105, a bright elliptical. M65 is another bright spiral galaxy of type SBa to the East of the constellation. This is a pair with M66, an excellent Sb Spiral Galaxy, both visible in the same low lower field of view. To the north of these, but also in the same field, lies NGC3628, a fainter galaxy which is edge on to us and shows a prominent dark rift. Other interesting galaxies include NGC3607, a bright Elliptical with NGC3608 close by, and the very bright NGC2903, an easy target for small 'scopes and surprisingly not included in the Messier list. Another interesting grouping surrounds NGC3193. Finally just North of Leo in Leo Minor is NGC3344, a bright type Sb Spiral Galaxy that is well worth a look.
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