The Lepus constellation lies south of the celestial equator and can is best viewed during the month of December.
Lepus the hare or rabbit sits directly at the feet of Orion, the hunter. It is said that the rabbit is being by Orion and the dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor. It is viewable throughout the southern hemisphere and as far north as Ireland.
The Brightest Star in Lepus is also known as “Arneb” which is Arabic for “The hare”. It is a white super-giant with an apparent magnitude of 2.589.
There is also a 4-star Asterism in the constellation Lepus known as the “Throne of Jawza”. In additions to being known as the throne, the asterism is also called “The Camels”. It is represented as camels quenching their thirst.
The Lepus constellation shares a border with Caelum, Canis Major, Columba, Eridanus, Monoceros and Orion. It can be viewed from the south pole and north to Latvia in the northern hemisphere.
Right Ascension: 05:31
Diameter (°): 11
Area (square °): 290
Opposition: Dec 15
Size Rank: 51st
Brightness Rank: 35th
Major or notable stars in Lepus
α Leporis (Alpha Leporis)
Nihal – β Leporis (Beta Leporis)
ε Leporis (Epsilon Leporis)
μ Leporis (Mu Leporis)
ζ Leporis (Zeta Leporis)
γ Leporis (Gamma Leporis)
17 Leporis (SS Leporis)
η Leporis (Eta Leporis)
δ Leporis (Delta Leporis)
Hind’s Crimson Star – R Leporis
Deep Sky Objects Lepus
Messier Object 79 (M79, NGC 1904)
Spirograph Nebula – IC 418
Mythology of the Constellation Lepus
The 2nd Century Astronomer, Ptolomy, named the constellation Lepus, the hare, as one of his original 48 constellations. Although it does not exist as a mythological character, it fits nicely with the tableau story already depicted.
This constellation is situated west of the Great Dog and at the foot of Orion, the Hunter. From the motion of the Earth, the Great Dog seems to be pursuing the fleeing Lepus. As the stars move through the night sky, the dogs seem to follow Lepus in an infinite chase though the sky.
It was a hare that Orion was said to have taken such delight in hunting. Because it was a favorite of his, it was put in the sky for Orion’s continual pleasure. The hare probably wishes it were a bit less favored.