The Constellation Virgo

by Dominic Ford
Virgo Virgo
The constellation Virgo. Roll mouse over to see labels.
Source: Stellarium.

Virgo is the second largest of all the constellations, lying on the celestial equator. It appears highest in the evening sky in the months around April.

It is one of the twelve zodiacal constellations, and the Sun passes through it each year between mid-September and the end of October. This includes the moment when the Sun passes southward across the equator at the September equinox.

In Greek mythology, Virgo is often identified as Dike, goddess of justice, who was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. She is often depicted holding the scales of justice, represented by the neighboring constellation Libra.

Together with neighboring Coma Berenices, Virgo is home to the brightest cluster of galaxies in the sky, the Virgo Cluster, which comprises well over 1,000 galaxies. Among these are eleven galaxies with Messier designations. The Virgo Cluster forms the core of an even larger structure, the Virgo Supercluster, of which the Local Group of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is an outlying member.

Date First Appeared
Ancient
Sky Area
3.1% of the sky
1294.4 square degrees
Messier Objects
Virgo contains the following Messier objects: M49, M58, M59, M60, M61, M84, M86, M87, M89, M90, M104.
Caldwell Objects
Virgo contains the following Caldwell object: C52.
Neighbors
The following constellations neighbor Virgo: Bootes, Coma Berenices, Corvus, Crater, Hydra, Leo, Libra, Serpens Caput.
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Brightest Objects in Virgo

Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Stars Open Clusters Globular Clusters Galaxies
Spica (mag 1.1) IC 3859 NGC 5634 (mag 9.6) Messier 104 (mag 8.3)
Porrima (mag 2.7) Messier 49 (mag 8.4)
Vindemiatrix (mag 2.8) Messier 87 (mag 8.6)
ζ-Vir (mag 3.4) Messier 60 (mag 8.8)
δ-Vir (mag 3.4) Messier 86 (mag 9.2)
Zavijava (mag 3.6) NGC 4697 (mag 9.3)
γ-Vir (mag 3.7) Messier 84 (mag 9.3)
HD 130109 (mag 3.7) Messier 90 (mag 9.5)
μ-Vir (mag 3.9) NGC 4636 (mag 9.6)
Zaniah (mag 3.9) NGC 4526 (mag 9.6)
ν-Vir (mag 4.0) NGC 4699 (mag 9.6)
Syrma (mag 4.1) Messier 61 (mag 9.7)
O-Vir (mag 4.1) Messier 58 (mag 9.8)
κ-Vir (mag 4.2) Messier 59 (mag 9.8)
τ-Vir (mag 4.2) Messier 89 (mag 9.8)
θ-Vir (mag 4.4) NGC 4535 (mag 9.8)
HD 133165 (mag 4.4) NGC 4753 (mag 9.9)
λ-Vir (mag 4.5) NGC 4216 (mag 10.0)
π-Vir (mag 4.6) NGC 4438 (mag 10.1)
χ-Vir (mag 4.7) NGC 5363 (mag 10.2)
l-Vir (mag 4.7) NGC 4429 (mag 10.2)
HD 115617 (mag 4.7) NGC 4762 (mag 10.2)
HD 116976 (mag 4.8) NGC 5846 (mag 10.2)
σ-Vir (mag 4.8) NGC 4261 (mag 10.3)
ψ-Vir (mag 4.8) NGC 4546 (mag 10.3)

Newark

Latitude:
Longitude:
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40.74°N
74.17°W
EDT

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