Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Spica(spī`kə), brightest star in the constellation VirgoVirgo
[Lat.,=the virgin], constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Libra and Leo, and SW of Boötes; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Bayer designation Alpha Virginis; 1992 position R.A. 13h24.8m, Dec. −11°07'. A bluish-white star of spectral classspectral class,
in astronomy, a classification of the stars by their spectrum and luminosity. In 1885, E. C. Pickering began the first extensive attempt to classify the stars spectroscopically.
..... Click the link for more information. B1 V, its apparent magnitudemagnitude,
in astronomy, measure of the brightness of a star or other celestial object. The stars cataloged by Ptolemy (2d cent. A.D.), all visible with the unaided eye, were ranked on a brightness scale such that the brightest stars were of 1st magnitude and the dimmest stars
..... Click the link for more information. averages about 0.96, making it one of the 20 brightest stars in the sky. Because it is an eclipsing binary starbinary star
or binary system,
pair of stars that are held together by their mutual gravitational attraction and revolve about their common center of mass. In 1650 Riccioli made the first binary system discovery, that of the middle star in the Big Dipper's handle, Zeta
..... Click the link for more information. , the magnitude ranges from 0.91 to 1.01 as the two components orbit about each other within a four-day period. Spica is at a distance of about 200 light-years. Its name is Latin for "ear of grain," referring to an ear of grain held by the figure traditionally associated with the constellation Virgo.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Spica(spÿ -kă) (α Vir) A conspicuous blue-white star that is the brightest one in the constellation Virgo. It is an eclipsing binary, period 4.014 days, the primary (A) being a Beta Cephei star near to core hydrogen exhaustion. Spica, Denebola, Arcturus, and Cor Caroli form the quadrilateral shape of the Diamond of Virgo. mv : 0.98 (var.); Mv : –3.2; spectral type: B1 V; distance: 67 pc.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
(α Virginis), a star of the first visual magnitude. The brightest star in the constellation Virgo, Spica has a luminosity 740 times greater than that of the sun. Spica is approximately 50 parsecs from the sun.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
A blue-white dwarf star of stellar magnitude 1.0, 160 light-years from the sun, spectral classification B1-V, in the constellation Virgo; the star α Virginis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.