How Did the Constellation Leo Get Its Name?

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The word "Leo" means lion in Latin. The constellation originally represented the ferocious Nemean lion that Hercules strangled to death as one of his 12 labors. According to legend, Zeus was impressed enough to make both of them constellations. Leo is not just a constellation, but one of the 12 constellations that make up the Zodiac. Unlike many constellations, Leo does look something like the creature it depicts.

The constellation has been recognized since the time of the Mesopotamians, and a surprising number of ancient cultures depicted it as a lion. The constellation has many bright and interesting stars, many of which are double star systems. The alpha star is a blue white star named Regulus, which lies at the heart of the lion. The beta star in the constellation is Denebola, which lies at the lion's tail. The area of the sky where Denebola lies was where Jocelyn Bell and Antony Hewish discovered four pulsars in 1968. Other bright stars in Leo include Algieba, Zosma and Adhafera.

In astrology, Leo is a fire sign and is the fifth sign of the Zodiac. The sun is "in" Leo every year from July 23 to August 22. The sign is considered masculine, dry, hot, commanding and strong.