International Star Registry

All Constellations

Virgo - Virgin


Virgo is the second largest constellation in the sky and is at its highest or most visible in May and June. It contains a major cluster of galaxies, among which is M-104 or the Sombrero Galaxy. The brightest quasar in the heavens, 3C 273, is in Virgo and can be seen with a small telescope. Spica, the largest star in Virgo, can be seen below the handle of Ursa Major and on a line south through the brighter star Arcturus.

Virgo, the virgin, is sometimes called Astraea. She is also known as Ceres, the goddess of the fields and agriculture in general. She is also identified with Proserpina, Ceres’ daughter. Virgo was the daughter of Jupiter and Themsis, and is the Goddess of Justice as well as the goddess of the harvest. Virgo was a busy goddess. This constellation’s brightest star is Spica, meaning an ear of corn or wheat. Her grains were weighted in the full moon of Libra, the Scales, which she held in her left hand. Can you believe how that Virgo gets around?

This is the seventh constellation in the zodiac and is situated east of Leo and midway between Coma Berenices on the north and Corvus on the south.

In describing the physical state of the world mythology invented a symbolic language which personified inanimate objects. The priests reduced the whole of their noblest science to fables. The people believed these as true histories representing the moral condition of mankind during the first ages of civilization.

According to the ancient poets, this constellation represents the virgin Astraea, the goddess of justice, who lived on earth during the golden age in about 3000 B.C. Offended by the wickedness and impiety of mankind during the bronze and iron ages, she returned to heaven and was placed among the constellations of the zodiac with a pair of scales in one hand and in the other, a sword.

As Virgil relates, mankind degenerated, one god after another deserted their beloved haunts. Astraea lingered till the last, but finding Earth steeped in inhumanity she also eventually flew away to the celestial regions.

Schiller ascribed Virgo to St. James the Less. The Chinese call it She Sang Nue – The frigid maiden. In most Hebrew writings, Virgo is assigned to Gad’s tribe.
SymbolVir
Right Ascension 01:19
Declination-4
Diameter (°)27
Area (square °)1294
Opposition Apr 11
Size Rank 2nd
Brightness Rank 21st
GenitiveVirginis