Constellation Lepus (Hare)

Lepus: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Lepus is located south of Orion, making it easy to find. It stands out in the night sky, especially in winter. The area is 290 square degrees and the center culminates around midnight on December 13th. [9, 15]

Stars with Proper Names [154]
α Lep Arneb
β Lep Nihal, Nibal
Data for constellation Lepus [150]
IAU NameLepus
IAU GenitiveLeporis
IAU Abbr.Lep
English NameHare
Opposition14 December
Season (47° N)October … February
Right Ascension04h 55m 02s … 06h 12m 52s
Declination-27° 16' 44" … -10° 48' 50"
Area290 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Ori, Eri, Cae, Col, CMa, Mon

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Constellation Eridanus
Constellation Eridanus: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]

Mythology and History

Lepus is a constellation that was already known to the ancient Greeks. It represents a hare that has cheekily laid down at the feet of the sky hunter Orion. A hare is associated with the moon in many legends: some see the familiar figure of the "man in the moon" as a hare or a rabbit. The hare was the symbol of speed, which was attributed to the Greek god of trade, Hermes. Perhaps Lepus is also another representation of this moon hare. In ancient Egypt, Lepus was Osiris's boat. The god Osiris was identified with the constellation Orion. [7, 21]

The Romans simply called the constellation Lepus, often adding Lepus auritus (The long-eared hare), Lepus levipes (The light-footed hare) and Lepus velox (The agile hare). The Arabs have adopted the classic image of the hare; one finds the names Alarnebet and Elarnebet. [20]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [20] «Sternbilder und ihre Mythen» von Gerhard Fasching; Zweite, verbesserte Auflage; Springer Verlag Wien, New York; ISBN 3-211-82552-5 (Wien); ISBN 0-387-82552-5 (New York)
  • [21] «Taschenatlas der Sternbilder» von Josef Klepesta und Antonin Rükl; Verlag Werner Dausien; ISBN 3-7684-2384-0
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;
  • [154] Yale Bright Star Catalog, 15. Oktober 2020;