All about the VIRGO constellation


1. Virgo means ‘virgin’ in Latin
2. Evidence suggests recognition of the constellation since 3,000 years ago
3. 20 of its stars have known planets orbiting them
4. A gas giant 10 times bigger than Jupiter orbits one of its stars
5. The constellation hosts numerous galaxy clusters within it, with each cluster hosting hundred to thousands of galaxies in itself

An overview

The constellation of Virgo makes up no clear imagery of the goddess herself, but instead is claimed to look like a lopsided box that has been tipped over on its side. The constellation consists of 15 main stars, with the brightest being Spica, a blue giant that’s 12,000 times more luminous than our sun.

It is one of the 12 Greek Zodiac constellations, and is visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, from March to July in the former and autumn to winter’s end in the latter.

The myth

There was once a young virgin girl named Erigone, daughter of Icarius, a humble farmer who had befriended the God of Wine, Dionysis.

One day, Dionysis offered up some wine to Icarius and his shepherds, in commemoration of their friendship. The shepherds had never before consumed alcohol, and mistook it for poison. In their drunken rage, they murdered Icarius.

When Erigone found her father’s body, she couldn’t control her sadness. After burying her father, she hanged herself beside his grave. After learning what had happened, Dionysis was furious, and inflicted a plague upon the entire city of Athens, which incited all its women to take their own lives.

The plague was only lifted after the city had repented and honored Icarius and Erigone, though Dionsys then proceeded to place Erigone into the night sky, birthing the constellation of Virgo.

The constellation

The Constellation of Leo is situated in the northern sky’s third quadrant, and is visible between latitudes -80 to +80 degrees. It neighbors the constellations of Leo and Libra.

Of the 15 main stars it consists, there exists seven celestial bodies of note: Zavijah, a yellow-white main sequence star just 35 lightyears from Earth; Zaniah, a three-star system; Porrima, a binary system that appears as a single star in the night sky; Auva, a red giant 50 times larger than the sun; Vindemiatrix, a yellow giant; Heze, a binary system consisting of a blue-white star and a red dwaf; and Spica, one of the brightest stars in the entire night sky.