Star Names:

Lepus


Map of The Constellation of Lepus
Please hover over any star to get more information
Lepus is a constellation in the southern hemisphere, lying near the celestial equator. Its name means "hare" in Latin. The constellation was created by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It is usually depicted as a hare being chased by a hunter, represented by the constellation Orion, and his dogs, the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor. It is said that Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods, placed the hare into the sky because of its swiftness.

The constellation Lepus occupies an area of 290 square degrees and contains one star with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +63° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of January.

The constellation’s main stars – [4972] alpha, [4973] beta, [4976] gamma and [4978] delta Leporis – form an asterism that Arabs know as "the Throne of Jawza" or "the Hindmost Chair of Jawza" and "the Camels Quenching Their Thirst."

[4972] alpha Leporis, the brightest star in the constellation, is also known as Arneb ("hare"). It is an old, dying star, either expanding into a supergiant or already past the supergiant stage, 10 times as massive as our Sun.

[4973] beta Leporis or Nihal ("camels"), the second brightest star in Lepus, is a bright giant about 159 light-years distant.

[4876] gamma Leporis, lying 29 light-years away, is a multiple star system and a member of the Sirius moving group of stars. Gamma Leporis A, a main sequence white-yellow dwarf, is one of the top 100 target stars for NASA’s Terrestrial Planet Finder.

[5046] R Leporis, also known as Hind’s Crimson Star, is a distinctly red variable carbon star lying near the border between Lepus and Eridanus.

[4975] zeta Leporis is a white main sequence star notable for having an asteroid belt.

Lepus contains a Messier object, the faint globular cluster M79 (NGC 1904). Messier 79, believed to have been created in the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, lies in an unusual place in the sky, in the hemisphere opposite to the Galactic Centre, unlike most globular clusters, which are located around the Galactic Centre.

Lepus belongs to the Orion family of constellations, along with Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor and Monoceros.

Constellations directly bordering Lepus are Orion, Eridanus, Monoceros, Canis Major, Columba and Caelum.


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