The constellation of Virgo is one that holds a wealth of galaxies that are visible in small telescopes, some even being visible in binoculars, and is a happy hunting ground for those who delight in digging out such elusive objects. Virgo is the centre of Hubble's "Realm of the nebulae", and it his observations of this galaxy cluster that led him to deduce his system of galaxy classification that is still in use today. Virgo has a chequered past, the actual personage it identifies has long been the subject of debate. The Babylonians identified it as the mother of Nimrod, the deified "eternal virgin", the cult of which has been carried over into the church in the form of worship of Mary, the mother of Christ. The Romans saw the constellation as their goddess Diana, the ruler of the harvest, and in some old maps there are stars marking a sheaf of wheat that she apparently carries. The whole constellation is best imagined as an enormous "Y" shape, with the brilliant blue Spica, or  Virginis at the bottom of the Y, and the arms of the letter then making a bowl shape that extends towards the constellation of Leo. Virgo is the largest constellation in the sky in terms of area, but is an easily recognizable one nevertheless.

Notable Objects

The bright star Spica, the Virgo group of galaxies, Messeir 87, 84, 86, 59, 60 and many NGC numbered galaxies