Virgo

Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 22:05:13 Posted by  Bobby
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 Mythology of Virgo

Virgo is the largest constellation of the zodiac and the second largest of all the constellations. It lies on the celestial equator between Leo and Libra. The constellation is usually identified as Dike, the Greek goddess of justice, or sometimes as Demeter, the corn goddess. Virgo is of particular interest because it contains the nearest large cluster of galaxies, the Virgo Cluster. The Sun passes through the constellation from September 16th to October 31st.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Virgin
  • Pronounced: VER-go
  • Genitive: Virginis
  • Abbreviation: Vir
  • Highest in the Sky: April to June
  • Size Ranking: 2nd
  • Coverage Area: 1,294 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 13 hours
  • Declination:
  • Visibility: 74°N to 74°S

 Notable Objects

  • M58: Barred spiral galaxy
  • M61: Barred spiral galaxy
  • M84: Elliptical galaxy
  • M86: Elliptical galaxy
  • M87: Elliptical galaxy
  • M90: Spiral galaxy
  • M104: Sombrero Galaxy

 Named Stars

  • Spica, Alpha Virginis
  • Zavijah, Beta Virginis
  • Porrima, Gamma Virginis
  • Auva, Delta Virginis
  • Vindemiatrix, Epsilon Virginis
  • Heze, Zeta Virginis
  • Zaniah, Eta Virginis
  • Syrma, Iota Virginis

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Alpha Virginis (Spica)

 The brightest star in Virgo and, at magnitude 1.0, among the 20 brightest in the sky. It is a blue-white star, 260 light-years away. Spica is Latin for "ear of wheat," an object Virgo holds in her left hand.

Gamma Virginis

 A binary star. To the naked eye it looks like one star of magnitude 2.7. In fact, there are two yellow-white stars (both of magnitude 3.5) orbiting a common center of mass every 169 years. This motion affects the binary' appearance significantly. In 2005, when the stars were closest together as seen from Earth, an aperture of 10 in (250 MM) was needed to divide them. After that they moved rapidly apart. Currently the stars are divisible with a small aperture and will remain that way for the rest of the century.

M87

 A famous giant elliptical galaxy near the center of the Virgo Cluster. It is probably the easiest member of the cluster to see through a small telescope.

M104 (The Sombrero Galaxy)

 A spiral galaxy that appears almost edge-on to us and looks elongated when seen with a small telescope. Larger apertures show a dark lane of dust in the spiral arms, crossing the central nucleus of stars. The galaxy is not part of the Virgo Cluster but lies somewhat closer to us.

The Virgo Cluster (The Virgo-Coma Cluster)

 A Cluster of 2,000 or more galaxies about 50 million light-years away that extends from Virgo into Coma Berenices. Its brightest members, notably the elliptical galaxies M49, M60, M84, M86, and M87, are visible with the size of telescope used by amateur observers.
Virgo
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