R Leonis -- Pulsating Red Giant Star in Leo
A Pulsating Red Giant in Leo
I had just finished drawing the dwarf galaxy “Leo 1”. It had taken time since it was very faint and
capturing it to paper had been hard on the eyes. The sky was still so unusually clear that I could
not stop observing just yet. Before calling it a night I decided to nudged the telescope four
degrees to the west of Regulus/Leo 1 to the colorful stars 18 Leonis (yellow-orange) and 19
Leonis (light-blue) to see if Leo’s famous Pulsating Red Giant (R Leonis) was bright enough to
warrant a drawing. Once again, the night was kind to me. R Leonis was as bright as 18 Leonis
(magnitude 5.6) and brighter than 19 Leonis (magnitude 6.3). If R Leonis had been at minimum
brightness it would be as dim as the faintest stars in the drawing, so I was in luck.
A pleasing triplet of bright colorful stars met my over-worked eyes. The contrasting red,
blue and yellow-orange stars were a fitting end to a wonderful night of observing.