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.
The distance to Virgo is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Virgo is to calculate the average distance of the stars.
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. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Virgo Star List Page.
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.
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 lifeforms 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.
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 35 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|
|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|
|Gamma Virginids||April 5-21||Apr. 14/15||Porrima|
|Mu Virginids||1-Apr - 12-May||24 - Apr||Rijl al Awwa|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||Yes|
|Largest Star||RU Virginis|
|Area||1294.428 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||3.14%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||49|
|Meteor Shower Count||35|
|Nearest Star||HIP 57548|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||61 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|
|*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count||1|
|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.
|IC 1101||Elliptical Galaxy||1.04 Billion||+05:44:41||15h 10m 56m 1s|
|Messier 49 (NGC4472)||Elliptical Galaxy||53,600-58,200 kilo||+08:00||12h 29m 8|
|Messier 58 (NGC4579)||Spiral Galaxy||~63,000 kly||+11:49||12h 37m 0|
|Messier 59 (NGC4621)||Elliptical Galaxy||55,000-65,000 kly||+11:39||12h 42m 0|
|Messier 60 (NGC4649)||Elliptical Galaxy||51,000-59,000 kly||+11:33||12h 43m 7|
|Messier 61 (NGC4303)||Spiral Galaxy||50,200-54,800 kly||+04:28||12h 21m 9|
|Messier 84 (NGC4374)||Lenticular (S0) Galaxy||57,000-63,000 kly||+12:53||12h 25m 1|
|Messier 86 (NGC3368)||Lenticular (S0) Galaxy||49,000-55,000 kly||+12:57||12h 26m 2|
|Messier 87 (NGC4486)||Elliptical Galaxy||51,870-55,130 kly||+12:24||12h 30m 8|
|Messier 89 (NGC4552)||Elliptical Galaxy||47,000-53,000 kly||+12:33||12h 35m 7|
|Messier 90 (NGC4569)||Spiral Galaxy||55,900-61,500 kly||+13:10||12h 36m 8|
|Sombrero Galaxy (M104, NGC4594)||Spiral Galaxy||28,700-30,900 kly||-11:37||12h 40m 0|