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Constellations: Leo Minor -- Small Lion, Big Feet


Hevelius formed this constellation out of the hind paws of Ursa Major.


Each map can be clicked on to produce a 909x1199 version of it. They sport red labels, which look good on screen, but which disappear when used with red flashlights. Each map, therefore has a second link to a map better suited for printing in a graphics program, and using in the field. While the maps are quite large, they are all about 25-55k, and so are easy to view at today's modem speeds. The first map is a wide area view of the constellation, suitable for naked eye browsing. The next views are binocular width, showing stars to mag. 10, and labeling deepsky objects to magnitude 12.

Interactive, wide area map of Leo Minor

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Click the map for a 923x1200 version of the above. Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.

Detailed View

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This a more detailed view of the constellation. The map displays stars to magnitude 10, and deepsky objects to magnitude 12. Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.


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NGC3344 (Best 65) is a face on, spiral galaxy located in the far south-east of the constellation. It forms a right triangle with 41 Leonis Minoris (mag. 5.1) 1.7° to the south, and SAO81584 (mag. 4.3 in Leo) 2.8° to the east. Dreyer describes it as quite bright (mag. 10.7), large (7.0'x6.5'), with a gradually brighter middle. There is a star involved with the galaxy itself, which combined with the somewhat stellar nucleus, gives the impression of looking at a "double star." Two other stars lie just eastward.

Image on the left is from the Princeton University Galaxy Catalog. Image on the right is a photograph by Pedro Ré.
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Image thumbnail 12k GIF A description of NGC3432 (Best 66) by Jere Kahanpää, observing with an 8" Newtonian at 126x: A nice edge-on galaxy. A quite bright core surrounded by a very elongated glow, about 7'x1.2'. 3 12-13m stars very near the galaxy: a lone one SE of the brighter parts at the edge and a somewhat fainter pair near the SW tip. The central brightening is broadly mottled. The brightest patch is 1' WNW from the star near the core. Diam. about 15''.

The drawing is by Jere as well.
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Image thumbnail 33k JPEG NGC3003 (on the right) is one of Dreyer's remarkable objects. It is a spiral galaxy described as quite bright (12.3), large (5.7'x1.7'), and very much elongated (P.A. 90). Others report no nucleus, and a series of dark knots and filamentary arms.

The other "bright" galaxy on the left is NGC3021. Dreyer calls it fairly bright, fairly small, very little elongated, with a much brighter middle. The star just to the SE is mag. 10. NGC3021 lies 31' ENE of NGC3003.

NGC3013 lies between the other two galaxies, just 2.7' SE of the bright (mag. 7.8) star SAO61706. Dreyer describes this galaxy as fairly faint (mag.15), fairly small, round, with a bright middle. Image from the Digital Sky Survey.
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