Fixed star:  ALTERF
Constellation:  Lambda (λ) Leo
Longitude 1900:  16LEO29 Longitude 2000:  17LEO52
Declination 1900:  +23.25′ Declination 2000:  +22.58′
Right ascension:  09h 31m Latitude:  +07.53′
Spectral class:  K5 Magnitude:  4.5

The history of the star: Alterf

from p.263 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage


Lambda (λ) Leo, Alterf, is a star in the open mouth of the Lion.

Alterf is from Al Tarf, “The glance” of the lion. Al Tarf is the name for the 7th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), which it formed with the unnamed star xi (ξ) Cancer. The word has generally been rendered the Glance, i.e. of the Lion’s eye, although on modern maps the star lies in the open mouth, where the second-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy located it. But it also had the secondary meaning of the Extremity [there is a star in Cancer named Al Tarf, translated “the end”], still more appropriate here, and so understood by the German astronomer Ideler (1766-1846).

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

The Lunar Mansions

The name of this star, Alterf, is from Al Tarf, “The glance” of the lion (the star is actually in the open mouth of the lion), is the name for the 7th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion) which it formed with the unnamed star xi (ξ) Cancer

Influences of the 7th Arabic Moon Mansion Al Tarf: Hinders harvest and travelers and causes discord. [Robson, p.71.]

With Moon transiting here: plant, build, marry, but do not travel. [Robson, p.71.]

Alpha (α Regulus) Leo was chief star in the 8th nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) that bore its name, Magha, made up by all the components of the Sickle (Leo’s mane and head); alpha (α Regulus described as on the base of the sickle), Gamma (γ Algieba), eta (η Al Jabhah), zeta (ζ Adhafera), mu (μ this star Ras Elased Borealis), epsilon (ε Ras Elased Australis), lambda (λ this star Alterf), and kappa (κ). The symbol of Magha “The Mighty” was a House. The regents were the Pitris (the spirits of the dead ancestors), or Fathers. Ruled by the Dragon’s Tail.

Influences of the 8th Hindu Moon Mansion Magha: A severe asterism belonging to the Shudra caste (low caste Hindu) and favorable for acts of disgrace, destruction, deceit, imprisonment, beating, burning and poison when containing the Moon. Those born on the lunar day will be wealthy, fond of hills, merchants, valiant, and women haters. With Moon here at birth native will be wealthy, religious, contented, well served, and fond of life. Rules grain boxes and the lips and upper mouth. [Robson, p.79.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Leo

Ptolemy makes the following observations: “Of the stars in Leo, two in the head are like Saturn and partly like Mars. The three in the neck are like Saturn, and in some degree like Mercury. . . . Those in the loins . . . Saturn and Venus: those in the thighs resemble Venus, and, in some degree, Mercury.” It is said that the stars in the neck, back and wing all bring trouble, disgrace and sickness affecting the part of the body ruled by the sign, especially if they happen to be in conjunction with the Moon. By the Kabalists, Leo is associated with the Hebrew letter Kaph and the 11th Tarot Trump “Strength.” [Robson, p.48.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Leo given by Manilius:

“Who can doubt the nature of the monstrous Lion, and the pursuits he prescribes for those born beneath his sign? The lion ever devises fresh fights and fresh warfare on animals, and lives on spoil and pillaging of flocks. The sons of the Lion are filled with the urge to adorn their proud portals with pelts and to hang up on their walls the captured prey, to bring the peace of terror to the woods, and to live upon plunder. There are those whose like bent is not checked by the city-gates, but they swagger about in the heart of the capital with droves of beasts; they display mangled limbs at the shop-front, slaughter to meet the demands of luxury, and count it gain to kill. Their temper is equally prone to fitful wrath and ready withdrawal, and guileless are the sentiments of their honest hearts” [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, p.237.]


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