Skywatch: Meet the constellation Virgo


As we move into late spring, take the time to find a constellation that’s synonymous with the season. Virgo is said to be Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. According to myth, we once enjoyed eternal spring. Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped the beautiful girl. Because Persephone ate some pomegranate seeds, she has to return to the underworld every year and that is when we experience winter.

Courtesy: NASA

One thing that’s neat about Virgo is the fact that it houses many galaxies. In fact, it has so many, there’s a name for it: the Virgo Supercluster. One famous galaxy you’ll find near it is a galaxy known as M104, or the Sombrero Galaxy. The feature is 28 million light-years away from us and isn’t visible to the naked eye but can be seen with small telescopes and a pair of good binoculars.

On Thursday morning, look for Saturn, Jupiter and the constellation of Scorpius. The three will be in the southern sky before sunrise. Saturn and Jupiter will look like bright stars just above and left of the constellation.

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On Saturday at 5:11 p.m., we’ll welcome the Full Flower Moon.

It's called this because this is the time of year flowers are becoming more and more abundant (Remember the rhyme about May flowers?). It’s also called the Full Milk Moon.

One thing that makes this moon special is the fact that it is the third full moon in a season with four of them. Normally, a season only has three full moons. Because March’s Full Moon happened just after the equinox, we’ll see four during the spring of 2019. The third full moon in a season with four of them is also called a blue moon. No, the moon won’t appear blue. We’ve grown to use this term to identify something that happens rarely.

The last time we had a “Seasonal Blue Moon” was back in may of 2016, a rare occurrence indeed.

Happy hunting!