Stargazing: Follow the Big Dipper to Leo

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By the end of April, Orion, the dominant cold-weather constellation, will disappear below the western horizon and not appear again until mid-August in the morning sky. Leo, the dominant constellation of spring, has now taken center stage almost directly overhead in the southern sky.

The head of the lion is outlined by what appears to be a backward "question mark" of stars. At the bottom of the question mark is Regulus, a first-magnitude star that stands out among the stars of Leo. To the east, or left, of Regulus is a triangle of stars that form the lion's hindquarters and tail. Look for Leo high in the south after sunset. If you are having trouble locating the lion, use the two "bowl stars" that are connected to the Big Dipper's handle as a guidepost to locate Leo. A line drawn south from these two bowl stars will lead to Regulus.


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