Virgo Constellation Facts That All Aspiring Astronomers Will Love | Kidadl


Virgo Constellation Facts That All Aspiring Astronomers Will Love

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The constellations are not evenly distributed over the sky.

Virgo is among the 88 constellations that make up the night sky. Its Latin name means 'virgin'.

Virgo occupies 1294.428 square degrees of the night sky or 3.14 % of the total. The Virgo constellation is located in the southern sky and is among the 12 zodiac constellations. Virgo is the second biggest constellation in the night sky in terms of size. Except for Sagittarius, 15, the Virgo Galaxy Cluster has the most profound space objects cataloged by Charles Messier of any constellation.

The Sun was in Libra during the fall equinox from the 18th century until the 4th century BC, before migrating to Virgo. By the year 2440, this point will move towards the neighboring constellation of Leo. The Virgo constellation is densely packed with galaxies, with numerous galaxy clusters containing hundreds or thousands of galaxies.

The iconic and stunning Sombrero Galaxy, one of the most luminous recognized galaxies and viewable thru an amateur telescope or binoculars in Virgo, is not a member of a galaxy cluster. Near the star Beta Virginis, the fall equinox point is also located there. It is one of two spots in the sky where the celestial equator and the ecliptic cross. So, let's discuss more Virgo constellation facts!

Deep Sky Objects In Virgo

Virgo ('the virgin') is the most prominent zodiac constellation and the night sky's second-largest constellation following Hydra. It includes the gorgeous blue giant star Spica, the 15th brightest star, and creates the asterism of stars known as the Spring Triangle alongside Denebola in Leo and Arcturus in Bootes.

In Virgo, there are several deep-sky objects, notably numerous Messier particles. The Virgo cluster can be located in both the Virgo and Coma Berenice's constellations. The cluster's nucleus is roughly 53.8 million light-years distant from the Solar System, and it comprises approximately 1300 galaxies, with the possibility of up to 2000 galaxies.

Messier 49, often called M49 or NGC 4472, is the Virgo Cluster's brightest galaxy and the cluster's first galaxy to be found. An elliptical galaxy is now gravitationally colliding with the minor dwarf irregular galaxy UGC 7636, which Charles Messier identified in February 1771. The bright star Epsilon Virginis is 4.1 degrees west-southwest of M49. Messier 49 is 55.9 million light-years away from us, and it has a visual magnitude of 9.4. Messier 58, often referred to as NGC 4579 or M58, is a barred spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster that is one of the brightest galaxies. It is around 62 million light-years away from us, and it has an apparent magnitude of 10.5.

Messier 59 is an elliptical galaxy of the Virgo Cluster, often referred to as M59 and NGC 4621. This galaxy is 60 million light-years beyond Earth, and it holds a visual magnitude of 10.6. Messier 60, often known as M60 or NGC 4649, is the Virgo Cluster's elliptical galaxy, the third brightest gigantic elliptical galaxy. Messier 61, often abbreviated as NGC 4303 or M61, is a spiral galaxy that is one of the significant members of the Virgo Cluster. It is approximately 52.5 million light-years from Earth and holds an apparent magnitude of 10.18. Also known as NGC 4374 or M84, Messier 84 is a lenticular galaxy in the Virgo cluster's inner layer. M84 is 60 million light-years away from us and contains a visual magnitude of 10.1.

Messier 86, often referred to as NGC 4406 or M86, is a lenticular galaxy in the Virgo Cluster's core found by Charles Messier. It is around 52 million light-years away from us, and it holds a visual magnitude of 9.8. Messier 87, often known as  NGC 4486 or M87, is a supermassive elliptical galaxy situated towards the Virgo cluster's core, near the Virgo-Coma Berenices border. It contains a visual magnitude of 9.59, making it the cluster's second brightest galaxy. M87 may be discovered by tracing the line between Epsilon Virginis to the bright star Denebola inside the constellation Leo, which is about 53.5 million light-years distant.

Messier 89, called NGC 4552 or M89, is a Virgo cluster elliptical galaxy. For its surrounding disc of dust and gas reaching 150,000 light-years from the universe with jets of hot material spanning 100,000 light-years away, M89 is likely to have formerly been an active quasar or radio galaxy. Messier 90, often abbreviated as NGC 4569 or M90, is a spiral galaxy in the Virgo cluster identified in 1781 by Messier. In its center sections, NGC 4435 is a barred lenticular galaxy with many young stars.

History And Mythology Of The Virgo Constellation

Virgo is generally shown with angelic wings with a wheat ear in the left hand, the brilliant star Spica marking her. She is in the constellation Libra, which represents the scales of justice. Virgo is among the twelve zodiac constellations, initially classified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century.

Virgo mythology! Dike existed during the Golden Age of humanity, according to Greek mythology. She was created as a mortal and sent to Earth to oversee human justice. Virgo is associated with fruitfulness and fertility in mythology. Wealth and peace were the hallmarks of the Golden Age. However, the Silver Age began when Zeus fulfilled an ancient prophecy by overthrowing his father.

Unfortunately, it did not go well, and Dike delivered a speech reminding everyone about the consequences of abandoning their forefathers' principles. She flew to the hills after that, and by the Iron or Bronze Ages, she had utterly abandoned the Earth. The Greek goddess of justice, Dike, and Persephone, Demeter's daughter, the harvest goddess, are usually associated with Virgo. As per Greek myth, the Earth had eternal spring till Persephone, the underworld god, stole the spring girl.

Astronomers are fascinated by the Virgo Cluster

Location Of The Virgo Constellation

Use the phrase 'Arc to Arcturus and Spike to Spica' to find Virgo. In other words, an imagined arc made from the Big Dipper's handle will travel first from the orange star Arcturus of Boötes and then into the brightest star in Virgo, Spica.

Virgo is located north of Corvus, Libra, and Crater's constellations south of Coma Berenices' constellations. The constellation of Virgo contains several notable stars. Spica is the most luminous star in the constellation and one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Virgo is the largest constellation in the Zodiac and the second largest in the entire celestial sphere, or night sky. Virgo has the brightest Quasar and several clusters of galaxies that are the closest to Earth.

Astronomers are fascinated by the Virgo Cluster because it is still forming. It has a mass of about 100,000 billion times that of our sun. There are approximately 2,000 galaxies in the cluster. The irregular distribution of the cluster's X-ray halo indicates that sub-clusters are still being formed.

Scientists studying Virgo astronomy claim that because the Virgo Cluster is so massive, its energy attracts nearby objects. This is referred to as the Virgo-centric flow. A nearby cluster, the Local Group, is currently moving away from the Virgo Cluster. However, due to this enormous pull, it will eventually slow down, change direction, and merge with the Virgo Cluster.

Virgo Star Map

With dozens of confirmed exoplanets and at least 12 Messier bodies, Virgo is a dense constellation.

It is the Zodiac's largest constellation, as well as the second-largest constellation overall, after Hydra. Virgo is visible in the northern hemisphere during the summer and spring, with May being the most acceptable month for observing.

On the other hand, Virgo is visible from the Southern Hemisphere throughout the fall and winter seasons. Virgo is visible in the Northern Hemisphere from March through July. The constellation may be seen in the Southern Hemisphere throughout the Winter and Autumn months; however, it will look upside down in contrast to the Northern Hemisphere. 

Virgo Galaxy Facts

IC 1101, the biggest galaxy identified so far, has 15 main stars, making our galaxy, the Milky Way Virgo, the biggest universe. Spica is the brightest star in the sky.

The Sombrero Galaxy earned its derived from the fact that it resembles a sombrero, the constellation's flatness in contrast to its appearance as a ball, and the galaxy's center massive black hole. It's a galaxy where many gas and stars are being formed. Spica often called Alpha Virginis, is the shining star in the constellation Virgo as well as the 15th most luminous star in the sky.

The Spica lies 42.60 light-years away from the Sun. It is a blue giant with an absolute magnitude of 1.04 and spectral classifications B1 III-IV and B2 V. It's a revolving ellipsoidal variable star, which implies it's a binary star with two components that don't eclipse one another but are warped by gravitational contact. PSR B1257+12 is a pulsar with an extrasolar planet in orbit around it, similar to Lich. The brightest star in Virgo, Spica, represents an ear of wheat grasped by the harvest goddess.

The primary star is 12,100 times more luminous than the Sun and belongs to the spectral class B1 III-IV. It's 260 light-years away, and it's one of the closest stars that's developed and big enough to erupt as a Type II supernova. The secondary star belongs to the B2 V spectral class. The Struve-Sahade phenomenon occurs whenever the spectral lines in double-lined spectroscopic binary stars weaken and move toward the red edge of the spectrum as the stars migrate away from the viewer.

With a visual magnitude of around 2.826, Vindemiatrix, also called Epsilon Virginis, is the third brightest star of Virgo. Mu Virginis, popularly called Rijl al Awwa, is a yellow star of the spectral class F2III. Chi Virginis is a binary star of the spectral class K2 III. It's an orange giant. The lead 61 Virginis is thought to be a disk star.

In contrast to spiral galaxies, which get a well-defined shape and beautiful spiral arms, elliptical galaxies look featureless and smooth.  The Eyes Galaxies are colliding galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435. The contact with the neighboring galaxy NGC 4438 is thought to cause the starburst outburst.

<p>Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.</p>

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