Sunday, 15 November 2020

Astrognome 100 Great Stars No 72 Regulus



Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo the Lion a ferocious beast that was killed by Hercules as one of his twelve labours. In the sky however it must be said that Hercules is much less imposing than Leo. In spring Leo is easily seen in the sky and Regulus is located at the bottom of a backwards looking question mark of stars in the sky.

Regulus is the faintest of the first magnitude stars with a magnitude of 1.4. First magnitude stars are classified as stars brighter than magnitude 1.5. Regulus is a B class star hotter than our Sun and lies at a distance of 79 light years. It was always considered by the Persians with Aldebaran, Antares and Fomalhaut as a royal star.

Regulus although appearing as a single star is in fact a quadruple system. It is one of the few bright stars in the zodiac that can be occulted by a planet. The last time this happened was in 1959 when the planet Venus passed in front of Regulus the next time Venus passes in front of Regulus will be in 2044.

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