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Virgo, The Virgin Constellation

Virgo Constellation Star Map

Virgo (Pronounciation:Vir-go, Abbrev:Vir, Latin:Virginis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Virgo takes up 1294.428 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 3.14% of the night sky. Virgo is the 2nd largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Virgin . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

There are 10 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 2864 stars. There are 98 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Virgo is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Virgo is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.

There are 49 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Virgo. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Virgo is RU Virginis.

There are 11 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Distance to Virgo

You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 38.11 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 315.74 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 147.72 light years.

Virgo Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

HIP 57548, Virgo's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 57548 which is roughly about 10.94 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is 61 Virginis which is about 27.9 Light Years.

HIP 63671, Virgo's Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 63671 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Spica, Brightest Star in Virgo

The brightest star in Virgo is Spica and is located about 42.60 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 0.98 but an absolute magnitude of -3.44 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.

92 G. Virginis, Virgo's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Virgo with the naked eye is 92 G. Virginis. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Lich

Lich is famous for being the first star, albeit a pulsar to have an exoplanet discovered in orbit around the planet. Lich is a pulsar and therefore as it spins it has a stream of deadly particles which bathes the planets in deadly radiation. There is no chance of any life forms on the planets as the particle streams from the pulsar would have sanitised the planet of life.

Lich is an apt name for the planet as Lich is a creature from fantasy, a powerful undead creature created by a powerful magician. Lichs get a mention in Warcraft as an enemy of both factions. The second expansion featured Arthas, Lich King who was the final boss of the expansion excluding Helion.

PSR B1257+12

PSR B1257+12 is a pulsar which like Lich has an extrasolar planet in orbit round it. It was discovered in 1990 at the Arecibo Observatory, the same one that featured in the James Bond film, Goldeneye.

Virgo Galaxy Facts

IC1101, Largest Galaxy Discovered So Far

The largest galaxy so far discovered is known as IC 1101, it makes our galaxy, the milky way look so insignificant. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across but the IC1101 is reckoned to be 2 million light years radius. The location is controversial as some people put the galaxy in Virgo whilst others put it in Serpens. For here, I've chosen to put it in Virgo. The galaxy has grown large in part to it cannibalising other galaxies. It is an old, dying galaxy. Whilst there might be some star generation going on, most stars on their way out.

Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy got its name from looking like a Sombrero, the flatness of the constellation as opposed to it looking like a ball and the central supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. The galaxy is side onto us which gives it its flat nature. It is a galaxy with a lot of gas and star creation going on.

How to Find and View Virgo in the Night Sky

Northern Hemisphere

Virgo can be seen from the start of the year but only in the early hours like 3 and 4 o'clock. If you're looking for an earlier in the evening time then you would need to wait until March when it starts to appear on the horizon after 9 p.m. Any time later, the constellation will rise in the sky both month and hour, we're talking. The best time to see it fully in the sky is May When you should look above the horizon in the south east. It will begin to fade in August and disappear in September.

Southern Hemisphere

Basing the location as Sydney, Australia, the constellation can be seen from April in an easterly direction at about 9pm. Whilst in the northern hemisphere, the constellation will move around the sky in a westerly direction and be virtually gone by September.

Virgo Mythology

It is believed the constellation represents Astraea, the virgin daughter of the god Zeus and the goddess Themis. Astraea was a goddess of truth and justice because the scales were nearby. She ruled the world at one time but as man grew callous, she returned to the skies as a constellation.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Virgo

There are 34 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Pi VirginidsFebruary 13-April 8Mar. 3-9Pi Virginis
Southern March Virginids16th March  
Eta VirginidsFebruary 24-March 27Mar. 18/19Zaniah
Theta VirginidsMarch 10-April 21Mar. 20/21Caphir
Alpha VirginidsMarch 10-May 6Apr. 7-18Spica
Southern gamma Virginids12th April  
Northern gamma Virginids14th April  
Mu Virginids1-Apr - 12-May24 - AprRijl al Awwa
May Phi Virginids2nd May  


List of Main Stars in Virgo

The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Virgo Star List page.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
SpicaAlpha Virginis249.7413h 25m 11.60-11d 09` 40.5B1VBlue/White
PorrimaGamma Virginis38.1112h 41m 40.00-01d 26` 58.3F0V+...Yellow/White
MinelauvaDelta Virginis198.4012h 55m 36.48+03d 23` 51.4M3IIIRed
VindemiatrixEpsilon Virginis109.6013h 02m 10.76+10d 57` 32.8G8IIIvarYellow
HezeZeta Virginis74.0813h 34m 41.75-00d 35` 45.4A3VWhite
CaphirTheta Virginis315.7413h 09m 57.01-05d 32` 20.1A1VWhite
SyrmaIota Virginis72.5314h 16m 00.88-05d 59` 58.3F7VYellow/White
Rijl al AwwaMu Virginis59.5914h 43m 03.56-05d 39` 26.7F2IIIYellow/White
Tau VirginisTau Virginis224.9414h 01m 38.78+01d 32` 40.5A3VWhite
109 Virginis134.5014h 46m 14.99+01d 53` 34.6A0VWhite

Virgo Facts


NameVirgo
AbbreviationVir
Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Brightest StarSpica
Area1294.428 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky3.14%
Size Position2nd
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count49
Meteor Shower Count34
Nearest StarHIP 57548
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)61 Virginis
Largest StarRU Virginis
Brightest StarSpica
Dimmest Star92 G. Virginis
Furthest StarHIP 63671
Bright Star Count98
Hipparcos Star Count2864
Main Star Count10
Messier Deep Space Object Count11
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsComa Berenices
Virgo
Crater
Corvus
Hydra
Libra
Serpens
Bootes

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.


List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Virgo


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
3C 279Quasar-05 47 21.53184047112 56 11m 1664521013
IC 1011Barred Spiral Galaxy14:28:04.5
IC 1101Elliptical Galaxy1.04 Billion +05:44:4115h 10m 56m 1s
Messier 49 (NGC4472)Elliptical Galaxy53,600-58,200 kilo+08:0012h 29m 8
Messier 58 (NGC4579)Spiral Galaxy~63,000 kly+11:4912h 37m 0
Messier 59 (NGC4621)Elliptical Galaxy55,000-65,000 kly+11:3912h 42m 0
Messier 60 (NGC4649)Elliptical Galaxy51,000-59,000 kly+11:3312h 43m 7
Messier 61 (NGC4303)Spiral Galaxy50,200-54,800 kly+04:2812h 21m 9
Messier 84 (NGC4374)Lenticular Galaxy57,000-63,000 kly+12:5312h 25m 1
Messier 86 (NGC4406)Lenticular Galaxy49,000-55,000 kly+12:5712h 26m 2
Messier 87 (NGC4486)Elliptical Galaxy51,870-55,130 kly+12:2412h 30m 8
Messier 89 (NGC4552)Elliptical Galaxy47,000-53,000 kly+12:3312h 35m 7
Messier 90 (NGC4569)Spiral Galaxy55,900-61,500 kly+13:1012h 36m 8
NGC 4425Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies+12 44 05.189370805 12 27 13m 3358624164
NGC 4443Galaxy+13:11:0412h 28h 6m 8
NGC 4522Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies+09 10 29.5412 33 39m 657
NGC 4526Lenticular Galaxy55 Million LY07:41:56.9012h 34h 03m 029
NGC4438Galaxy50 Million Ly+13 00 30.9212 27 45m 652
NGC4458Elliptical Galaxy55 Million Ly+13 14 30.9012 28 57m 532
NGC4660Elliptical Galaxy50 Million Ly+11 11 25.73068804312 44 31m 9848549289
NGC5257HII Galaxy300 Million Ly+00 50 22.4813 39 52m 273
NGC5331Interacting Galaxies450 Million Ly+02 06 04.1813 52 16m 289
Sombrero Galaxy (M104, NGC4594)Spiral Galaxy28,700-30,900 kly-11:3712h 40m 0


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