As a child you must have often looked up at night and wondered why the sky is so dark and what are these shining gems doing up there. There are numerous stars in the sky which set your imagination to work, and you start wondering about them forgetting all your preoccupations. Sometimes your curiosity forces you to explore more and leaving everything you stick to them. Stars, when arranged in a recognizable shape, form constellations and as the legacy goes, stories are associated with everything. That’swhy there are stories related to almost everything in the culture and mythology of the whole world.
Lying in the northern sky, Lepus constellation is located under the feet of Orion, and its name translates to “the hare” in Latin. Lepus is not attributed to any specific myth but is sometimes assumed as a hare being chased by the epic hunter Orion and by his hunting dogs, depicted by Canis Major and Canis Minor constellations. First cataloged by Ptolemy in the 2nd century, Lepus is home to popular variable star R Leporis, famous as Hind’s Crimson Star, and is above of several important deep sky objects: the Spirograph Nebulae (IC 418), Messier 79 (NGC 1904) and the irregular galaxy NGC 1821.
Location and Facts about Lepus
On the basis of size, Lepus is the 51st constellation and covers an area of 290 square degrees which is quite large in itself. It mentions the second quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ2) as its home and is visible in latitudinal extent from +63 degree to -90 degree. It has some really bright neighbors like Orion, Caelum, Monoceros, Canis Major, Eridanus and Columba which are notable constellations.
Lepus houses itself in the Orion family of constellations along with dear home mates like Monoceros, Canis Major, Canis Minor and Orion itself. Lepus has only one Messier object- Messier 79 (M79, GC 1904) and its one star has the merit to hold planets. Arneb, Alpha Leporis is the brightest star in the constellation with 2.58 as its magical magnitude number. Being a beautiful bunch of stars, Lepus hosts no meteor showers and has never been witness to any such celestial event during its whole lifetime.
The mythological connection: Lepus and Orion
The brightest star in the Lepus constellation Arneb translates to “the hare” in Arabic and the stars Nu Leporis, Kappa, Lambda, and Iota make the hare’s ears.
In Greek mythology, it is accepted as a hare chased by Orion and his dogs and situated at Orion’s feet, giving birth to the myth. In some histories, it is mentioned as a rabbit which is an animal of hare’s breed, again, hunted by Orion and his beasts.
The world of sky, after so much research which has been done, is still unexplored and the mysteries underlying are buried in the mounds of black holes. Stars are a symbol of hope and show us direction when we are lost and impart happiness combined with positive energy.