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05/19/2022 – Ephemeris – Spring constellations: Virgo

May 19, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, May 19th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 9:08, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:09. The Moon, halfway from full to last quarter, will rise at 1:40 tomorrow morning.

Tonight at 11 p.m. in the south is the constellation and member of the zodiac: Virgo the virgin. Virgo is a large constellation of a reclining woman holding a stalk of wheat. Spica, the bluest of the first magnitude stars, is the head of that spike of wheat; and as such it ruled over the harvest in two of Virgo’s guises as the goddesses Persephone and Ceres. Virgo is also identified as Astraea the goddess of justice. The constellation of Libra, the scales, which she is associated with, is found just east of her low in the southeast. Early Christians who sought to de-paganize the heavens saw Virgo as the Virgin Mary. Virgo is the host to a great cluster of galaxies seen far beyond its stars, which belong to our galaxy.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Virgo finder animation

Virgo finder animation with Libra added for 11 p.m. tonight, May 19th. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Virgo

Virgo as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. From the Library of Congress. H/T Wikipedia.

Brighter members of the Virgo Cluster. Created using Stellarium.

Brighter members of the Virgo Cluster. Created using Stellarium. Open circles are galaxies, circles with crosses are globular star clusters, outlying members of our Milky Way galaxy.