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Taurus

The Bull

Abbreviation: Tau
Genitive: Tauri
Origin: [antiquity]

The constellation of Taurus

Taurus is a member of the zodiac. This is one of the most ancient of constellations, harking back to Babylonia and perhaps even before. The bull is identified with Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. He assumed the guise of a white bull to abduct Princess Europa. When she found the bull amongst her father's herd, she climbed on his back and Zeus immediately swam to Crete where he revealed his true identity to her. Europa became the first queen of Crete.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
α Tau Aldebaran This is a first magnitude star and although it appears in the sky to be a member of the Hyades, it is unrelated to the star cluster. It sometimes appears as Oculus Australis (from the Latin oculus australis meaning 'the southern eye') or Palilicium (from the Latin Palilicium meaning 'the feast of Pales') in older star atlases and catalogues. In Hindu astronomy, it is known as Rohini, from the Sanskrit rohiṇī meaning 'the reddish one'.
β Tau Elnath Elnath was once also identified as γ Aur. It appears as Kurn al Thaur al Shimalih (from the Arabic qarn al‑thawr ush‑shamāliy meaning 'the northern horn of the bull') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
γ Tau Prima Hyadum This star appears as Aoul al Debaran (from the Arabic awwal tad‑dabarā meaning 'the first follower') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
δ Tau Secunda Hyadum
ε Tau Ain This star is known to have at least one exoplanet. It sometimes appears as Oculus Boreus (from the Latin oculus boreus meaning 'the northern eye') in older star atlases and catalogues.
ζ Tau Tianguan
η Tau Alcyone Alcyone is the brightest member of the Pleiades. It star appears as Al Thaur al Thureiya (from the Arabic al‑thaur al‑thurayyā meaning 'the bull of al‑Thurayyā') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
θ2 Tau Chamukuy
16 Tau Celaeno This is a member of the Pleiades.
17 Tau Electra This is a member of the Pleiades.
19 Tau Taygeta This is a member of the Pleiades.
20 Tau Maia This is a member of the Pleiades. Maia was the eldest of the seven sisters.
21 Tau Asterope This is a member of the Pleiades. It sometimes appears as Sterope Ⅰ in older star atlases and catalogues.
23 Tau Merope This is a member of the Pleiades. Merope was the youngest of the seven sisters.
27 Tau Atlas This is a member of the Pleiades. Atlas was the father of the seven sisters.
28 Tau Pleione This is a member of the Pleiades. Pleione was the mother of the seven sisters.
HD 28678 Hoggar This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
M1 Crab Nebula This is the nebulous remnant of a supernove explosion witnessed on Earth in 1054. A small telescope is needed to see it.
M45 Pleiades Also known as the Seven Sisters, the open cluster of young stars can be seen clearly with the naked eye. Time-exposure photography reveal the stars to be embedded in gas and dust. In Arabic astronomy, the Pleiades are known as a‑Thurayyā, meaning 'the little abundant one'. In Hindu astronomy, the Pleiades are known as Krittika, from the Sanskrit kṛttikā meaning 'the cutters'.
C41 Hyades This constellation is home to another famous open cluster, the Hyades. Much closer to us than the Pleiades, the Hyades form the V shape of the bull's head. In Arabic astronomy, the Hyades are sometimes known as Al‑Qilās, meaning 'the young camels'.

Open Cluster Close-up

Hyades/Pleiades identification charts