Regulus the Little King

As I'm sure you remember, Regulus is the third star of the Spring Triangle. It sits along the Ecliptic where the Sun, Moon and planets travel. It's also part of Leo the Lion constellation. When you see the star Arcturus, just look to center of our sky until you find a backward question mark.

The backward question mark contains six stars, and Regulus is the bottom star. The rest of the constellation is to the left of Regulus, making that part closer to Arcturus. Leo the Lion is an easily recognizable star pattern. The backward question mark is his head. The stars closer to Arcturus are his legs. There are a total of 12 stars.

This constellation is also called the Sickle which forms its head. Bright star Regulus is the bottom dot in the backward question mark and is also designated as the King of the Beasts. The stars on the east are his tail.

The Regulus name is Latin for "little king." It's blue white and lies about 78 light years from us. What's interesting is that it's a group of four stars that revolve around each other. The largest one is called Regulus A and is the only one we can see without a telescope. It's almost 4 times more massive than our Sun. 

It's also the brightest star closest to the plane of our eclipse and is frequently covered by our moon. What's interesting is that it rotates fast — only 16 hours. Our Sun takes a month to do a rotation.

The best time to see Regulus and its constellation, Leo the Lion, is April to June. This month reaches its highest point at 11 p.m. DST.  Next month, it will reach its highest point at 9 p.m. DST. It's an interesting constellation and contains galaxies that you can't see without a telescope. In November, the Leonid Meteor shower seems to originate from this constellation.

The Lyrid Meteor shower perked early this morning but will be good again tonight. You need to get up at 4 a.m. when the moon sets and look in the southeast to see the meteors.



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