Constellation Virgo

 

The constellation of the Virgin (lat. Virgo) is one of the Signs of the Zodiac. With an area of 1,294 square degrees, it is the second largest in the starry sky after the constellation Hydra.

How to spot Virgo

The constellation can be seen in latitudes between +80° and -80°. If you draw a line from the Big Dipper (part of the Great Bear) to the star Arctur in the constellation of Bootes and extend it, you will reach the star Spica, the brightest star of the Virgo.

Mythology

There are many different mythological versions of the constellation of Virgo, of which three are presented here.

In one narrative, the Virgin is Kore, the daughter of Zeus and the Goddess of Grain and Fertility Demeter. After a few years, Zeus impregnated his own daughter and then ignored her, so he didn’t care when Hades took Kore as his bride. The God of the underworld gave his unhappy wife the name Persephone, who was allowed to live in the realm of the dead half of the year and the other half on the surface of the earth.

According to a Roman writer, Virgo is Erigone, the daughter of Icarus. He was murdered by some shepherds after a misunderstanding in respect of a self-made wine. When the dog of the family led Erigone to the hidden corpse of her father, she took her own life. Zeus put her and the little dog of Icarus in the starry sky.

Other sources suggest that the Virgin in the sky is the Goddess Dike who lived on earth when there was still peace. As humanity began to fight, she fled first into the mountains and finally into the sky.

Interesting Facts

The oldest known mention of this constellation is found in Mesopotamia. At that time, the sun stood in the constellation of Libra at the beginning of the harvest season, so the brightest star of the constellation Virgo rose shortly before it. As it was a signal for farmers, in 2700 BC the constellation was named after the "furrow". Only around 700 BC, the Greek astronomers recognized the constellation of the Virgin.