Lepus (//, colloquially //) is a constellation lying just south of the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for hare. It is located below—immediately south—of Orion (the hunter), and is sometimes represented as a hare being chased by Orion or by Orion's hunting dogs.
|Pronunciation||//, or colloquially //; genitive //|
|Right ascension||04h 55m 02.2311s–06h 12m 51.7500s|
|Area||290 sq. deg. (51st)|
|Stars with planets||3|
|Stars brighter than 3.00m||2|
|Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)||3|
|Brightest star||α Lep (Arneb) (2.58m)|
|Visible at latitudes between +63° and −90°.|
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of January.
Although the hare does not represent any particular figure in Greek mythology, Lepus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.
History and mythologyEdit
Four stars of this constellation (α, β, γ, δ Lep) form a quadrilateral and are known as ‘Arsh al-Jawzā', "the Throne of Jawzā'" or Kursiyy al-Jawzā' al-Mu'akhkhar, "the Hindmost Chair of Jawzā'" and al-Nihāl, "the Camels Quenching Their Thirst" in Arabic.
There are a fair number of bright stars, both single and double, in Lepus. Alpha Leporis, the brightest star of Lepus, is a white supergiant of magnitude 2.6, 1300 light-years from Earth. Its traditional name, Arneb (أرنب ’arnab), means "hare" in Arabic. Beta Leporis, traditionally known as Nihal (Arabic for "quenching their thirst"), is a yellow giant of magnitude 2.8, 159 light-years from Earth. Gamma Leporis is a double star divisible in binoculars. The primary is a yellow star of magnitude 3.6, 29 light-years from Earth. The secondary is an orange star of magnitude 6.2. Delta Leporis is a yellow giant of magnitude 3.8, 112 light-years from Earth. Epsilon Leporis is an orange giant of magnitude 3.2, 227 light-years from Earth. Kappa Leporis is a double star divisible in medium aperture amateur telescopes, 560 light-years from Earth. The primary is a blue-white star of magnitude 4.4 and the secondary is a star of magnitude 7.4.
There are several variable stars in Lepus. R Leporis is a Mira variable star. It is also called "Hind's Crimson Star" for its striking red color and because it was named for John Russell Hind. It varies in magnitude from a minimum of 9.8 to a maximum of 7.3, with a period of 420 days. R Leporis is at a distance of 1500 light-years. The color intensifies as the star brightens. It can be as dim as magnitude 12 and as bright as magnitude 5.5. T Leporis is also a Mira variable observed in detail by ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer. RX Leporis is a semi-regular red giant that has a period of 2 months. It has a minimum magnitude of 7.4 and a maximum magnitude of 5.0.
There is one Messier object in Lepus, M79. It is a globular cluster of magnitude 8.0, 42,000 light-years from Earth. One of the few globular clusters visible in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere's winter, it is a Shapley class V cluster, which means that it has an intermediate concentration towards its center. It is often described as having a "starfish" shape.
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