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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:50  
clear_day Transit: 11:50  
SunsetSet: 15:49 south
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All Constellations » Virgo » 

Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis)

Altitude: -48.3°   Azimuth: 340.6°   Direction: North-North-West

Spica, also designated as α Virginis (alpha Virginis), is a variable and multiple giant star in the constellation of Virgo.

Spica visual magnitude is 0.98, making it the 15th brightest star in the sky. Thanks to its high brightness, Spica is clearly visible when observed from locations with dark skyes, and should be also quite easily visible from light polluted areas.

The table below summarizes the key facts about Spica:


Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis) is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.

Altitude: -48.3°
Azimuth: 340.6°
Direction: North-North-West

Celestial coordinates and finder chart of Spica

Spica is situated close to the celestial equator, as such, it is at least partly visible from both hemispheres in certain times of the year. Celestial coordinates for the J2000 equinox as well as galactic coordinates of Spica are provided in the following table:

13h 25m 11s
-11° 09’ 41”

The simplified sky map below shows the position of Spica in the sky:

Finder chart Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis) star
Simplified finder chart for Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis).

Visibility of Spica from your location

Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
Latitude: 51° 28’ 47” N
Longitude: 0° 00’ 00” E
Timezone: Europe/London

Today's Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis) rise, transit and set times from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt are the following (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 101.2°
Max altitude: 27.4°
Azimuth: 258.8°

Digitized Sky Survey image of Spica

The image below is a photograph of Spica from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2 - see the credits section) taken in the red channel. The area of sky represented in the image is 0.5x0.5 degrees (30x30 arcmins). The proper motion of Spica is -0.041 arcsec per year in Right Ascension and -0.028 arcsec per year in Declination and the associated displacement for the next 10000 years is represented with the red arrow.

Image of Spica - α Virginis (alpha Virginis) star
DSS2 image of Spica. The red arrow shows the motion of Spica during the next 10000 years (-6.83 arcmin in Right Ascension and -4.67 arcmin in declination);

Distance of Spica from the Sun and relative movement

Spica is distant 262.06 light years from the Sun and it is moving far from the Sun at the speed of 1 kilometers per second.

80.39 pc
262.06 ly
1 km/s
-0.041 arcsec/year
-0.028 arcsec/year

Spectral properties of Spica

Spica belongs to spectral class B1 and has a luminosity class of III corresponding to a giant star.


The red dot in the diagram below shows where Spica is situated in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

HR Diagram
H-R diagram showing the position of Spica. Attribution: Richard Powell / CC BY-SA

Spica star system properties

Spica is a visual double star which can be observed only with the help of very large telescopes. The table below shows key information about the Spica double sysyem:

0 arcsec

Alternative designations of Spica

α Virginis
(alpha Virginis)
67 Virginis