Virgo

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Constellation Virgo is a constellation of the zodiac. Lying between Leo to the west and the Libra to the east, it is one of the largest constellations in the sky. It can be easily found through its bright α star, Spica.

Contents

Notable features

The most prominent star in Virgo is Spica (α Vir), which was sometimes considered to represents an ear of wheat in Virgo's hand. Spica makes it easy to locate Virgo, as it can be found by following the curve of the Big Dipper to Arcturus in Bo�tes and continuing from there in the same curve ("follow the arc to Arcturus and speed on to Spica").

Other bright stars in Virgo include Zavijah (β Vir), Porrima (γ Vir), Auva (δ Vir) and Vindemiatrix (ε Vir). Other fainter stars which were also given a name are Heze (ζ Vir), Zaniah (η Vir), Syrma (ι Vir) and Rijl al Awwa (μ Vir).

The star 70 Virginis is an extrasolar planetary system with one confirmed planet 6.6 times the mass of Jupiter.

Mythology

Who exactly Virgo was considered to represent is uncertain; in history, it has been associated with nearly every prominent goddess, including Ishtar, Isis, Cybele, and Athena. Virgo may also feature, along with Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor, as part of the source of the myth of Callisto, either as Callisto herself, or as Hera. Persephone (who in some mythologies, notably the Eleusinian Mysteries, was considered to be a form of Demeter) is often mentioned as well, Virgo being visible mainly in the spring months when she was believed to have risen from the underworld.

According to one interpretation, the constellation depicts Astraea, the virgin daughter of the god Zeus and the goddess Themis. Astraea was known as the goddess of justice, and was identified as this constellation due to the presence of the scales of justice Libra nearby, and supposedly ruled the world at one point with her wise ways until mankind became so callous that she returned to skies in disgust.

Astrology

The Western astrological sign Virgo of the tropical zodiac (August 23 - September 22) differs from the astronomical constellation and the Hindu astrological sign of the sidereal zodiac (September 16 - October 30).

In some cosmologies, Virgo is associated with the classical element Earth, and thus called an Earth Sign (with Taurus and Capricorn). It is also one of the mutable signs (along with Gemini, Sagittarius, and Pisces). It is the domicile and exaltation of Mercury. Its polar opposite is Pisces. Each astrological sign is assigned a part of the body, viewed as the seat of its power. Virgo rules the intestines. The symbol for Virgo is the virgin or maiden.

See Also


Astronomy | Constellations of the Zodiac | Astrology edit (http://aids.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php?title=Template:Zodiac&action=edit)

Aries (♈) | Taurus (♉) | Gemini (♊) | Cancer (♋) | Leo (♌) | Virgo (♍) | Libra (♎) | Scorpius/Scorpio (♏) | Ophiuchus | Sagittarius (♐) | Capricornus/Capricorn (♑) | Aquarius (♒) | Pisces (♓)

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