Starwatch: Regulus, the brightest star of Leo the Lion

Watch out later this week as the moon, approaching full, passes the blue-white quadruple star system in the constellation Leo

This coming weekend, keep an eye out for the moon as it passes Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Regulus marks the full stop at the bottom of the backwards question mark of stars, also known as the sickle, that makes up the Lion’s head and chest. Once identified, this asterism will be instantly recognisable on subsequent nights. Regulus appears as a blue-white star but is actually a quadruple star system. The chart shows the view looking east from London at 20:00GMT on 7 March. A day later, the moon will appear below Regulus but still close. From Sydney, Australia, the best view comes on 8 March. Look north-east in the evening sky, and the moon will be closer to the star. On 8 March, the moon will be effectively full and any mist or thin cloud could render the fainter sickle stars difficult to see. Regulus, however, should be unmistakable. Return the night after, find Regulus and then trace out the rest of Leo.

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