Virgo (constellation)

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Virgo is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for virgin, and its symbol is Virgo.svg (Unicode ♍). Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky (after Hydra). It can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica.

Contents

Location

The bright Spica makes it easy to locate Virgo, as it can be found by following the curve of the Big Dipper to Arcturus in Boötes and continuing from there in the same curve ("follow the arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica").[1]

Due to the effects of precession, the First Point of Libra, (also known as the autumn equinox point) lies within the boundaries of Virgo very close to β Virginis. This is one of the two points in the sky where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic (the other being the First Point of Aries, now in the constellation of Pisces.) This point will pass into the neighbouring constellation of Leo around the year 2440.

Notable features

Stars

Besides Spica, other bright stars in Virgo include β Virginis (Zavijava), γ Vir (Porrima), δ Virginis (Auva) and ε Virginis (Vindemiatrix). Other fainter stars that were also given names are ζ Virginis (Heze), η Virginis (Zaniah), ι Virginis (Syrma) and μ Virginis (Rijl al Awwa).

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