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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Pi Virginids||February 13-April 8||Mar. 3-9||Pi Virginis|
|Southern March Virginids||16th March|
|Eta Virginids||February 24-March 27||Mar. 18/19||Zaniah|
|Theta Virginids||March 10-April 21||Mar. 20/21||Caphir|
|Alpha Virginids||March 10-May 6||Apr. 7-18||Spica|
|Southern gamma Virginids||12th April|
|Northern gamma Virginids||14th April|
|Mu Virginids||1-Apr - 12-May||24 - Apr||Rijl al Awwa|
|May Phi Virginids||2nd May|
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.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Spica||Alpha Virginis||249.74||13h 25m 11.60||-11d 09` 40.5||B1V||Blue/White|
|Porrima||Gamma Virginis||38.11||12h 41m 40.00||-01d 26` 58.3||F0V+...||Yellow/White|
|Minelauva||Delta Virginis||198.40||12h 55m 36.48||+03d 23` 51.4||M3III||Red|
|Vindemiatrix||Epsilon Virginis||109.60||13h 02m 10.76||+10d 57` 32.8||G8IIIvar||Yellow|
|Heze||Zeta Virginis||74.08||13h 34m 41.75||-00d 35` 45.4||A3V||White|
|Caphir||Theta Virginis||315.74||13h 09m 57.01||-05d 32` 20.1||A1V||White|
|Syrma||Iota Virginis||72.53||14h 16m 00.88||-05d 59` 58.3||F7V||Yellow/White|
|Rijl al Awwa||Mu Virginis||59.59||14h 43m 03.56||-05d 39` 26.7||F2III||Yellow/White|
|Tau Virginis||Tau Virginis||224.94||14h 01m 38.78||+01d 32` 40.5||A3V||White|
|109 Virginis||134.50||14h 46m 14.99||+01d 53` 34.6||A0V||White|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Area||1294.428 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||3.14%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||49|
|Meteor Shower Count||34|
|Nearest Star||HIP 57548|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||61 Virginis|
|Largest Star||RU Virginis|
|Dimmest Star||92 G. Virginis|
|Furthest Star||HIP 63671|
|Bright Star Count||98|
|Hipparcos Star Count||2864|
|Main Star Count||10|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||11|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Coma Berenices|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|3C 279||Quasar||-05 47 21.531840471||12 56 11m 1664521013|
|IC 1011||Barred Spiral Galaxy||14:28:04.5|
|IC 1101||Elliptical Galaxy||1,040,000,000||+05:44:41||15h 10m 56m 1s|
|Messier 49 (NGC4472)||Elliptical Galaxy||53,600,000 - 58,200,||+08:00||12h 29m 8|
|Messier 58 (NGC4579)||Spiral Galaxy||63,000,000||+11:49||12h 37m 0|
|Messier 59 (NGC4621)||Elliptical Galaxy||55,000,000 - 65,000,||+11:39||12h 42m 0|
|Messier 60 (NGC4649)||Elliptical Galaxy||51,000,000 - 59,000,||+11:33||12h 43m 7|
|Messier 61 (NGC4303)||Spiral Galaxy||50,200,000 - 54,800,||+04:28||12h 21m 9|
|Messier 84 (NGC4374)||Lenticular Galaxy||57,000,000 - 63,000,||+12:53||12h 25m 1|
|Messier 86 (NGC4406)||Lenticular Galaxy||49,000,000 - 55,000,||+12:57||12h 26m 2|
|Messier 87 (NGC4486)||Elliptical Galaxy||51,870,000 - 55,130,||+12:24||12h 30m 8|
|Messier 89 (NGC4552)||Elliptical Galaxy||47,000,000 - 53,000,||+12:33||12h 35m 7|
|Messier 90 (NGC4569)||Spiral Galaxy||55,900,000 - 61,500,||+13:10||12h 36m 8|
|NGC 4425||Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies||+12 44 05.189370805||12 27 13m 3358624164|
|NGC 4443||Galaxy||+13:11:04||12h 28h 6m 8|
|NGC 4522||Galaxy in a Group of Galaxies||+09 10 29.54||12 33 39m 657|
|NGC 4526||Lenticular Galaxy||55,000,000||07:41:56.90||12h 34h 03m 029|
|NGC 4628||Seyfert 2 Galaxy||-06 58 15.47||12 42 25m 276|
|NGC 4880||Spiral Galaxy||+12 28 59.908218984||13 00 10m 5730220026|
|NGC4438||Galaxy||50,000,000||+13 00 30.92||12 27 45m 652|
|NGC4458||Elliptical Galaxy||55,000,000||+13 14 30.90||12 28 57m 532|
|NGC4660||Elliptical Galaxy||50,000,000||+11 11 25.730688043||12 44 31m 9848549289|
|NGC5257||HII Galaxy||300,000,000||+00 50 22.48||13 39 52m 273|
|NGC5331||Interacting Galaxies||450,000,000||+02 06 04.18||13 52 16m 289|
|SN 1994D||Supernova Remnant||+07 42 05.70||12 34 02m 395|
|SN 2007BI||Supernova Remnant||+08 55 44.3||13 19 20m 19|
|Sombrero Galaxy (M104, NGC4594)||Spiral Galaxy||28,700,000 - 30,900,||-11:37||12h 40m 0|
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