The galactic position and direction of Spica relative to Earth's Sun. Note that, at this
extreme scale, the two stars are effectively in the same place.
The view from a hypothetical planet in the Spica system. Each
of the blue stars within the system expels particle winds,
which clash to send powerful X-rays out into space. This radiation means that, even if the system contains any planets like that
shown here, they are very unlikely to support any kind of life.
The name 'Spica' is Latin; it means 'Ear of Corn'. The star it refers to is a bright
and hot blue star more than 260 light years (about 80 parsecs) from the Earth.
In fact, Spica is a binary star, and is circled by an invisible companion, causing its
brightness to vary slightly every four days. Spica's magnitude is +0.9, making it the sixteenth
brightest star in the sky, after Antares in Scorpius.
Spica is of the type classified as a 'dwarf', but this does not mean that it is a small
star - it is more than ten times more massive than the Earth's Sun.