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Take a look at the 12-day-old moon in the east at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9. It will be nearly 45 degrees above the horizon and to the west of the front part of Leo the Lion.

On Friday the moon will be two degrees to the east of Regulus the brightest star in Leo. On Saturday night the nearly full moon will be south (to the right) of Leo’s rump. The moon will dim Leo considerably, though it is a good pointer to Leo.

Leo’s presence in the east in the evening sky signals the beginning of the end of winter. While Leo is not the king of constellations, it does rank up there for size, brightness, beauty, and telescope items of interest. It is also one of the relatively few constellations that actually looks like what it is supposed to represent.

The western or front part (head and claws) of Leo is like a backward question mark composed of six bright stars. This part of Leo is often called the Sickle. The bottom star or “dot” in the backward question mark is Regulus, the 21st-brightest star in the sky.

The eastern or back part of Leo (rump and tail) is a triangle of three bright stars. The easternmost star in Leo’s rump is Denebola, the 62nd-brightest star in the sky, a favorite of amateur astronomers because of its catchy name.

Contact Tim Hunter at