Constellation of the Month: Leo the Lion

David Baumgartner writes that Leo is one of the easiest to recognize in the night sky.

This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

This month we come to another bright constellation, Leo the lion. It is one of the easiest to recognize, mainly because it looks like a lion, or at least you can imagine it that way. The brightest star in this constellation is Regulus, the lion’s heart. Above it is a C-shaped curve of stars, his mane and head, which is facing to the right in the sky.

There is a considerable gap where his back should be, and then you come to a large triangle of fairly bright stars, they represent the end of his back, legs and tail. Leo is another constellation of the zodiac, that is, the ecliptic passes through it. Regulus is very close to the ecliptic, so the moon and planets pass near it and sometimes even in front of it. The most interesting star in this constellation is Algieba, which is actually a double star. If you have a telescope you can make it out vary distinctly.

I enjoy all the calls I get from the readers of this column with their questions. I try to answer them the best I can. There are some really good imaginations out there. The most frequent question I hear is, “What telescope should I buy?” My answer: Don’t just jump at the first one you see. Do your homework before you buy. Check out size, cost and type. Talk to as many people you can who have already bought one. In the long run you will be glad you did.

Clear skies.

March Sky Watch

March 16: Moon at last quarter

March 18: Moon passes 0.7° south of Mars

March 18: Moon passes 1.5° south of Jupiter

March 18: Moon passes 0.9° south of Pluto

March 18: Moon passes 2° south of Saturn

March 19: Vernal equinox occurs at 9:50 p.m.

March 20: Mars passes 0.7° south of Jupiter

March 21: Moon passes 4° south of Mercury

March 24: New Moon occurs at 2:28 a.m.

March 24: Moon is at apogee (252,707 miles from Earth)

March 26: Moon passes 4° south of Uranus

March 28: Moon passes 7° south of Venus

March 31: Mars passes 0.9° south of Saturn


David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.