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Taurus (constellation)
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Taurus (constellation)

Taurus
AbbreviationTau
GenitiveTauri
Meaning in Englishthe Bull
Right ascension4 h
Declination15°
Visible to latitudeBetween 90° and −65°
Best visibleJanuary
Area
 - Total
Ranked 17th
797 sq. deg.
Number of stars with
apparent magnitude < 3
3
Brightest star
 - Apparent magnitude
Aldebaran (α Tau)
0.9
Meteor showers Taurids
Beta Taurids
Bordering constellations Auriga
Perseus
Aries
Cetus
Eridanus
Orion
Gemini

Taurus is one of the constellations of the zodiac, the bull. It sits large and prominent in the winter sky, between Aries to the west and Gemini to the east; to the north lie Perseus and Auriga, to the southwest Orion, and to the southeast Eridanus and Cetus.

Table of contents
1 Notable features
2 Notable deep sky objects
3 Mythology
4 Astrology

Notable features

One of the few first magnitude stars in the sky, the bright red Aldebaran, sits in the middle of this constellation. The horns of the bull stretch off to the west, marked by Elnath (Beta Tauri, traditionally shared with Auriga) and Zeta Tauri.

Notable deep sky objects

In the east of the constellation lies one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the eye, the Pleiades.

Behind Aldebaran lie the Hyades, the nearest distinct open star cluster, that with it form a V in the sky marking the bull's head.

Another object, visible in a telescope, is the Crab nebula (M1), a supernova remnant northeast of Zeta. The explosion, seen on Earth on July 4, 1054, was bright enough to be seen by day. It is mentioned in Chinese history texts and Native American pottery.

Mythology

In Greek mythology, this corresponds with the bull-form Zeus took in order to win Europa, a Phoenician princess.

Astrology

The astrological sign Taurus (April 20 - May 20) is associated with the constellation. In some cosmologies, Taurus is associated with the classical element Earth, and thus called an Earth Sign (with Virgo and Capricorn). Its polar opposite is Scorpio.

Astronomy | Astrology | Constellations of the zodiac
Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpius (Ophiuchus) Sagittarius Capricornus Aquarius Pisces