- March 5, 2012
In simplest manner constellation is a precise arrangement of stars in the sky. The identification, recognition and naming of all eighty eight constellations observed till now are very old as many civilizations like Greeks, Arabs, and Babylonians initiated their observation thousands of years ago. Greeks managed to identify and name 48 constellations but we limit our discussion here to Virgo constellation, which is one of the most fascinating and searched one. From scientific point of view, this constellation has group of galaxies which are near to our Milky Way. Galaxy is a collective term in which stars, planets and other objects club together and work as a complex system. You will wonder that Virgo constellation has 13,000 galaxies.
Some interesting facts about the Virgo Constellation are given below:
- In the Hebrew language it is called 'Bethulah' while it is 'Parthenos' in Greek and 'Adarah' in the Arabic language.
- The Virgo constellation represents the story of a young virgin girl in stars.
- This is second largest constellation in the sky (first is hydra).
- It has comparatively more extra-solar planets than any other constellation.
- The drawing shows a young virgin girl standing and holding a wheat branch in left hand and olive branch in the right.
- The best time to see this constellation is month of May and best when viewed at the timeline, mid of March at 2 a.m., mid of April at midnight and mid-May at 10 p.m.
- The brightest star in this constellation is Apha or Spica Virginis and eases the observers to locate this constellation in the sky.
Stars present in Virgo constellation are Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta Virginis. However, Epsilon, Eta Lota, Mu and Zeta Virginis can also be seen in this constellation. The most beautiful, famous and brightest star is Alpha Virginis also known as Spica, meaning the 'corn ears' in Latin. Because of the blue-white colour it bears, this star looks wonderful in night sky. Stars belonging to Virgo constellation, in order of their brightness are Alpha, Gamma, Epsilon, Zeta, Delta and Beta.
Other objects in Virgo constellation are M49, M58, M59, M60, M61, M84, M86, M87, M89, M90 and M104. While M58, M61, M90, and M104 which are spiral galaxies, M49, M59, M60, M84, M86, M87, and M89 are the elliptical galaxies, with M49 being the brightest galaxy amongst all. M104 is also known as 'Sombrero galaxy' and is seen too dazzling in photographs.
In various cultures, Virgo is goddess of justice and fertility and there are several mythological stories associated with the Virgo constellation. In Indian mythology it was Kauni, mother of lord Krishna whereas according to Greek mythology, Virgo portrays the story of Demeter whose daughter Persephone got kidnapped by the underworld god Hades. Later on, her mother took revenge and ruined the earth to make it unproductive, leaving many people dead due to starvation. Zeus issued an order stating that Persephone must spend some time in underworld and after her mother's return Demeter allowed nature to function normally. Some Greek mythologist said that Virgo corresponds to Erigone who lost her life when she saw the dead body of her father. But previous story is well accepted in Greek and other parts of the world. Virgo constellation is easy to see and is an amazing experience to watch.