Fixed star:  PRAECIPUA
Constellation: Omicron (ο) Leo Minor
Longitude 1900:  29LEO28 Longitude 2000:  00VIR53
Declination 1900:  +34.45' Declination 2000:  +34.13'
Right ascension:  10h 53m Latitude:  +24.55'
Spectral class:  1 deg. approx Magnitude:  3.9

The history of the star: Praecipua

 from p.264 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage]

Omicron (ο) Leo Minor, Praecipua, or 46 Leonis Minoris, is a star in the Lesser Lion.

To the lucida (brightest star in a constellation) Hevelius applied the adjective Praecipua, Chief, which Giuseppe Piazzi, Italian astronomer (1746-1826) inserted as a proper name in the Palermo Catalogue. Burritt's Atlas of 1856 mentioned it, under the letter l, as the Little Lion, from its being the principal star in the figure of Leo Minor.

[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].

Praecipua is a Latin word meaning head, leader, chief, or first.


There is no classical mythology on Leo Minor. The Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius (A.D. 1611-1687) created this constellation from 18 left-over stars, or supernumeri, located between Leo and the rear legs of Ursa Major. Hevelius named star 46 Praecipua, "the Excellent One."

The Chinese placed Noui-p'ing, the Administrator of the Interior, in Leo Minor. By some accounts, Noui-p'ing was the magistrate who equalised punishments, and by others he was the officer in charge of the imperial harem. Chaou-wi represented the Unknown of as Yet Low Ranks. The hidden small ones were those in inferior positions, not yet discovered, but who deserved to be promoted to higher ranks. Star 51 (in Leo) was Hou-sse, the Tiger or Military Chief. Stars 40, 41 and 42 were Po-sse, the Wise Ones, I-sse, the Counselors, and Ta-fou, the Eminents, respectively. Chaou-wi represented the place where the virtuous—the ones who would be rewarded for their merits—were seated. Astrologers maintained that the clarity of these stars foretold the election of meritorious men.

[The New Patterns in the Sky, Julius D.W. Staal, 1988, p.120.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Leo Minor

It gives a generous, noble, peaceable, but fearless nature, with the ability to undertake prominent and responsible positions. [Robson*, p.49.]

Chinese astrologers believed that the clarity of these stars in Leo Minor, foretold the election of meritorious men. [The New Patterns in the Sky, Julius D.W. Staal, 1988, p.120.]

References:

*[Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].