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Constellations: Lepus -- A Dead Bunny Rabbit


Orion liked hunting, and rabbits were his favorite prey. Lepus is actually the rabbit's larger cousin, the hare, which can run longer distances at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (50kph). Lepus lies dead at Orion's feet.

The Egyptians viewed Orion as Osiris, and Lepus was Osiris' boat. The story has several versions; here is one of them. Osiris was a good and wise king. He gave the Egyptians laws and taught them handicrafts and farming. His brother Seth gathered together 72 fellow conspirators and killed Osiris by inducing him to lie in a coffin made to just his size. Seth then closed the lid, and threw the coffin in the Nile. Isis, Osiris' wife succeeded in finding the body and returning it to Egypt. Seth had the corpse cut into 14 pieces. Isis collected them and reassembled the body, and Osiris became the god of the underworld. Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, continued the struggle with Seth from the north of Egypt, eventually defeating his uncle.

As an aside, scholars see such a story as the transformation of a fertility god to the god of the underworld. The underworld for ancient Egypt was less gloomy than in other cultures. Indeed, Osiris represents the ancient Egyptian hope for eternal life.


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 they are quite large, they are all about 38-62k, 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, deepsky objects to mag. 12.9, and labeling deepsky objects to magnitude 12.

Interactive, wide area map of Lepus

Map thumbnail

Click the map for a 909x1199 version of the above. Click here for a map better suited for use in the field.

Detailed Map

Map thumbnail

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.


Image thumbnail 8k JPEG M79 (NGC1904, Bennett 34) is a fairly large (9'), very rich, very condensed and resolvable globular shining at mag. 8. It sits in the southern portion of Lepus, 3.7° SSW of Nihal (beta Leporis). Image by Pedro Ré using a HiSYS22 CCD on a C-14 at f6. 2x2 binning on two, two minute exposures.
Map Printable Map More info.


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