Long ago people looked at the night sky, who - admiring the stars, who - in search of answers to any questions, and who - dreaming of discovering new planets and stars. And all of them can easily see the constellation Virgo - it is located in the southern part of the sky, closer to the horizon. Since the discovery of this cluster of stars in the sky, it has greatly interested humanity. However, since the emergence of powerful telescopes, this interest has only increased, because in no other constellation there is such a large number of double stars, nebulae, galaxies of different classifications and stars of different physical magnitudes, luminosity, significance. And although you can study any constellation in the sky, Virgo evokes a special interest of scientists.
On a clear night, on a new moon this cluster of stars can be observed without equipment, so bright it is - it includes more than 95 stars. The brightest star of the constellation Virgo - Spica.
It is worthwhile mentally connecting all the bright stars of the desired area of the sky, as a broken quadrilateral is obtained - a recognized figure of the heavenly Virgin. Of course, this image does not at all resemble that beautiful winged girl, who was depicted in ancient times on astronomical maps. But we in this connection can only be surprised at the rich imagination of ancient astronomers.
In Egypt, only the time of harvest came, when this equatorial constellation arose on the horizon. Probably, it is for this reason that the brightest cluster stars are called "reapers".
The constellation Virgo is also amazing because among its stars there is a satellite Y, considered a variable star. In this amazing celestial cluster, you can see variable stars, and a few double stars, but you will be able to see all of this with a fairly strong telescope.
The ancient Greeks could not explain the appearance of stars from a scientific point of view, but they came up with a beautiful fairy tale - so there was a legend about the constellation Virgo.
In the mythology of the Greeks, this constellation personifies Demeter, the goddess of fertility. The Greeks were sure that it patronized the farmers, activating the growth of plants, promoting the formation and maturation of fruits and vegetables, teaching people to properly cultivate their land.
According to mythology, Demeter had a daughter from Zeus - Persephone. When the young goddess from the child grew into an incredible beauty girl, the father decided to give her to marry her brother - Aida. Being the wife of the king of the dead, Persephone would be forced to leave the earth forever, settling in the underworld.
However, Hades was sure that Persephone would not marry voluntarily, so he abducted her, taking advantage of Hera's services, she created an incredibly beautiful flower that grew in Persephone walks. At that moment, when the beautiful girl leaned toward the flower, the ground under her opened, Hades appeared on her chariot and took the girl to her kingdom.
Demeter very badly suffered the disappearance of a single daughter. Her tears flowed in a continuous stream, and she departed from Olympus to Earth. It strongly influenced all the plants of the Earth - the trees lost their leaves, the plants withered. Famine and death came to the Earth, but Demeter did not care, because she was only able to think about her unfortunate daughter. So the fall came for the first time.
Zeus was able to understand how great the love of Demeter to his daughter, he saw that her grief is capable of killing life on Earth. He told his wife to return to Olympus, but she could not do it, because she swore without her daughter not to return to the world of the gods.
Zeus had to order that 8 months Persephone lived on Olympus, and only 4 months - with Hades in his underground possession.
That's why in the spring everything blossoms - Persephone returns from the kingdom of Hades and her mother rejoices, giving life to everything on Earth. When the daughter should return to her husband - the mother again begins to feel sad, causing the arrival of autumn and winter.
When the Virgo constellation ascended, the inhabitants of Ancient Greece were sure that Demetera came to help them in their labors. Taking the harvest, they were sure that the goddess would send them high yields for their burdens.
This equatorial constellation, on the one hand which can be found the constellation of Leo, on the other - Libra. In addition, it was here that the point of the autumn equinox was located. Particularly well visible is each star in the constellation of the Virgin in the spring - it is at this time that the Virgo is located high enough, mostly in the southern part of the sky.
Without special equipment, Virgo can be observed only on clear nights, when there is no Moon. Despite the large number of stars in the picture of the Virgin, not all of them are visible, but only the brightest ones. This constellation is best seen in March-April, and it is available for observation throughout the territory of our country.
It is curious that the constellation of the Virgin in the spring sky is one of the largest. It occupies about 3% of the entire starry sky and more than it only constellation Hydra.
Currently, the constellation has more than 130 stars, whereas until recently it was believed that the Virgin consists of "only" of 95. Most of the stars are too small, you can only see them in a very powerful telescope. It is for this reason that you see the Virgin as a quadrangle from the Earth with the naked eye, while a conditional girl with arms outstretched becomes visible in the telescope. She seems to lie in the sky, turning her back on the sky. It is interesting that Spica, which forms the Necklace of the Virgin, is not located at all in the region of the head of the constellation, but rather on the contrary - it is slightly lower than the conditional back of the heavenly Virgin.
The star of the first magnitude, the only one of this cluster. Of all the visible stars, Spica is on the 16th place in its brightness. Its name is translated from Greek as a "wheat ear", which holds in the hands of Demeter (ancient Arabs called this star Acimehus - "high star").
Spica is 260 light years from the Sun. It is composed of two parts, exceeding in diameter our Sun in 7.8 and 4 times each of them. At the same time, Spike's brightness is 1000 times greater than that of the Sun. Spica is also interesting in that its components are practically indistinguishable from each other in terms of luminosity, composition and physical characteristics. When the star was just beginning to be watched, it seemed that it was an ordinary star, and only with the development of more powerful telescopes it became apparent that there were two stars. The difference in their circulation is only 4 days.
Speka enters into a magnificent asterism, which is called the "Necklace of the Virgin." In addition, she is one of the navigation stars.
The second brightest star. Its name means "goddess of prophecy". It is the closest to the Earth double star, it is located only 32 light years away from us. Its orbit is unusually extended.
The stars, which differ in brightness, were nicknamed "reapers", since their sunrise coincided with the beginning of the harvest in ancient Egypt.
The ancient Romans, a star located at the highest point of the Virgin, called the "vineyard", because it arose when it was time to ripen the grapes.
How to Find a Girl
Although in the territory of Russia the constellation of the Virgin is visible from any point, not everyone knows how to find it on the horizon.
If you want to see the Virgin, you need to find a "parachute" - the original drawing of the constellation Vodopas with its bright star Arcturus. On the southern slope of the sky in the spring it is easy to find. And it is under this "parachute" reveals the Virgin.
It is also convenient to start the search from the constellation of the Lion - you need to look for its brightest star that shines next to Spika.
In the spring sky, it is easiest to find the constellation we need, if we mentally hold a plumb line from the handle of the Big Dipper. This conditional line will pass slightly to the right of Spica, having pierced the constellation drawing.
Curious objects nearby
Near the constellation you can find an interesting elliptical galaxy, which has a fairly high brightness.
Spiral galaxy, observed in powerful telescopes. In 1989, this galaxy discovered the formation of 2 stars.
Lenticular galaxy. Observations of it allowed us to notice how from the nucleus from time to time some gases break out, leading to the fact that we see a foggy sphere-sphere.