Joe Rao: 'Virgin' Constellation's Bright Star Reigns Over Night Sky

Meteorologist Joe Rao writes about the one constellation is officially known as "The Queen."

In our night sky, just one constellation is officially known as "The Queen" (the autumn star pattern Cassiopeia), but if we could assign an unofficial title of "Queen of Spring" for northern observers, then certainly it would have to go Virgo, the Virgin.

Virgo currently covers much of the southern sky during the late evening hours (9 to 11 p.m. local daylight time) this week. The constellation consists of a group of stars set in a large dim region that owes its importance mainly to its location within the zodiac.

Among the 88 constellations, in terms of size (at least according to official boundaries that were established in 1930 by the International Astronomical Union), Virgo is the second largest, spanning 1,294 square degrees, or nearly 3 percent of the entire night sky. Only Hydra, the long and winding water snake, is larger. 

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