Hemisphere

The largest constellation of the zodiac and the second-largest overall, Virgo is shaped like a sloping Y with its brightest star, spica, at the southern tip. On its northern border lies the nearest large cluster of galaxies, some 50 million light-years away the sun is within the boundaries of Virgo at the september equinox each year.

THE sombrero galaxy

Virgo's best-known galaxy is not part of the Virgo cluster, lying at only about two-thirds of the distance from Earth to the cluster. The dark band across the central nucleus is created by dust in the spiral arms.

THE sombrero galaxy

Virgo's best-known galaxy is not part of the Virgo cluster, lying at only about two-thirds of the distance from Earth to the cluster. The dark band across the central nucleus is created by dust in the spiral arms.

galaxy m87

A giant elliptical galaxy near the core of the Virgo cluster of galaxies, M87 has a highly active nucleus that is expelling a jet of gas, just visible here at the 2 o'clock position. M87 is a strong radio source.

features of interest alpha (a) virginis (spica) 2 The constellation's brightest member, magnitude 1.0. It is a blue-white star 260 light-years away.

gamma (g) virginis 5 A binary star whose companions orbit each other every 169 years. Currently moving apart, they will become divisible in apertures of 4 in (100 mm) by 2010.

THE viRGo cluster 5 Within the bowl of Virgo's Y lie numerous members of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The brightest galaxies are giant ellipticals, notably M49, M60, M84, M86, and M87.

M104 (THE sombrero GALAXY) 5 A spectacular spiral galaxy oriented almost edge-on to us.

Libra Librae (Lib)

width im depth im size RANKING 29111 fuLLY vislBLE 60"n-90"s

A constellation of the zodiac, between Virgo and Scorpius, Libra represents the scales of justice held by Virgo, although the ancient Greeks visualized the constellation as the claws of the neighboring scorpion, Scorpius. As a result, its two brightest stars have names that mean the northern and southern claw.

features of interest alpha (a) librae (zubenelgenubi, the southern claw) 2 1 A wide double star with components of 3rd and 5th magnitudes, easily divided with binoculars or sharp eyesight.

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