Location and Time of Year
Virgo appears in the Northern Hemisphere during the spring and summer months and in the Southern Hemisphere during autumn and winter.
- Best seen in May at 9 p.m.
You can identify Virgo by first finding the Big Dipper. Determine the seven stars that form the shape of a huge ladle in the sky and follow the "handle" of the dipper in an arc out until you come to the star orange star Arcturas. Then continue that line to Virgo's brightest star Spica.
Other Interesting Facts
- Virgo is the second largest constellation and is visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
- Virgo is Latin for virgin and is the largest zodiac constellation in the night sky, and the second-largest (after Hydra) overall of the 88 star constellations.
- Virgo has been recognized as a constellation for at least 3,000 years.
- There are more than one asteroids in the constellation of Virgo and many are still being discovered.
The representation of Virgo in ancient mythology
The constellation Virgo represents Persephone in ancient mythology. She was the daughter of Demeter, the harvest goddess. According to the famous Greek myth, eternal spring once laid upon the Earth. Until one day when the god of the underworld kidnapped Persephone, the maiden of spring.
Her mother Demeter collapsed in grief over the loss of her only child and abandoned her role as the goddess of fruitfulness and fertility. In some parts of the globe, the winter cold turned the once verdant Earth into a frigid Iceland, while elsewhere in the world the summer heat scorched the Earth and gave rise to pestilence and disease. The Earth would not become peaceful until Demeter was reunited with her daughter.
Humanity may have died altogether if Zeus, the king of gods, had not intervened. Zeus insisted that the god of the underworld return Persephone back to Demeter. The god of the underworld was not happy when he heard this, so he purposely gave Persephone a pomegranate, knowing she would suck on a pomegranate seed on her way home.
At last Persephone was given back to her mother, but Persephone – because of the pomegranate she had to return to the underworld for four months every year. To this day, spring returns to the Northern Hemisphere when Persephone is reunited with Demeter, but the winter season comes back again when Persephone dwells in the underworld.
That’s why it’s spring when the constellation Virgo is above the horizon at early evening but why it’s winter when she’s not.