Taurus Constellation

Taurus is a large and prominent constellation in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter sky. It is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to the Early Bronze Age at least, when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox. Its importance to the agricultural calendar influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of Ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

The Taurus constellation is one of the original 48 constellations formulated by Ptolemy in 138 AD. It covers about 437 square degrees, making it the third largest in size. It can be seen by all observers located at latitudes between +90° and -60°. In southern latitudes, it can be seen at its best during the month of January.

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How Did Taurus Constellation Get Its Name?

Also known as the bull constellation, it was one of the twelve constellations used by Ptolemy to predict the motion of the planets. It is associated with Aphrodite and represented by the image of a bull or cow.

Its name taurus means “bull” in Latin, though mythologically it is known as Zeus’ lover, Europa’s, father, king of Crete, and the god that abducts princess Europa. The Greeks also associated it with the Minoan Bull that Pasiphae, wife of King Minos, fell in love with.

The common mythology is that Zeus became enamored with Europa who was gathering flowers by the seashore. He transformed himself into a white bull and mixed in with her group of maidens. Europa spotted the bull and took hold of his horns. Zeus took this appeal as a sign and jumped onto the shore from the waves, put his arms around her, and gave chase until she wrapped her arms around its neck. Europa then climbed on its back, and Zeus rode eastward into the sea, giving life to the land through a stream of water. The two were taken to the heavens by Zeus where they created their own constellation that is easily visible in both hemispheres.

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How to Find the Taurus Constellation

There are several ways to find the Taurus constellation in the night sky. One way is to first locate Orion’s belt, which is three bright stars that form an almost straight line. Just above that, you will find another set of three bright stars in a line. This star pattern represents the face and horns of Taurus. The star that makes up the tip of the bull’s right horn is Aldebaran, also known as Alpha Tauri. This star has a distinct orange color and is easily visible to the naked eye. This star has been used as an eye test since ancient times because it is very bright and easy to spot even in areas with moderate light pollution.

If you draw a line from the Pleiades cluster, located on the bull’s shoulder, through the orange star Aldebaran and continue past Orion’s head, you will find Sirius, also known as Alpha Canis Majoris. This is the brightest star in our night sky and is easy to spot due to its brightness and proximity to the belt of Orion.

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How Many Stars Are in Taurus Constellation

Taurus constellation contains several stars visible to the naked eye. There are two sets of three stars that make up the face and horns. The rest of the star pattern forms Orion’s shoulders and feet, as well as part of his belt. Included in this grouping is Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri), which is one of the brightest stars in our night sky.

Taurus also contains many notable deep sky objects. One of the most interesting is Messier 1 (also known as the Crab Nebula), which is a supernova remnant that can be seen in binoculars or a small telescope. This nebula contains the Crab Pulsar, one of the fastest rotating neutron stars ever discovered. It spins 641 times per second and emits electromagnetic radiation.

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The Brightest Star in Taurus Constellation

Taurus is one of the most striking constellations in the sky thanks to its dominating star, Aldebaran . It can be easily found by following the line from Rigel through Betelgeuse in Orion constellation and continuing on the same line. Aldebaran can be found roughly at a distance of 65 light-years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 0.85. It is the 14th brightest star in our sky and is most probably not associated with any form of mythology, but it does have some interesting features.

This star is located on the right side of the face of the bull, marking its eye. It is a red giant that lies about 65 light-years away from our solar system. This star has a companion that is about 10 times smaller and more distant from Aldebaran. The star rotates so quickly that it completes its rotation in just 16.4 days, compared to the 365 days it takes our Sun to rotate around its axis.

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When Is Taurus Visible

Taurus is visible in the Northern Hemisphere throughout winter and, while not as bright as some other constellations, it contains many notable stars and star clusters. It can be seen in the southeast for a few hours after sunset and sets by midnight. It is best seen during the months of January, February, and March.

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What Other Objects Are in Taurus

The Hyades is an open star cluster located within Taurus constellation. This is one of the nearest open clusters to Earth at a distance of 153 light-years. It is best viewed with binoculars or a telescope if you wish to see more than the brightest stars.

Messier 1 can be spotted using small telescopes and contains many interesting features including the Crab Pulsar, which spins an astonishing 641 times per second. This star is a neutron star and produces regular radio pulses as well as X-rays.

The closest bright star to Aldebaran is Alcyone (Eta Tauri), which lies at a distance of roughly 400 light-years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of 2.86 and is the second brightest star in Taurus (after Aldebaran). It is surrounded by a half-light radius shell that was created when an erupting white dwarf collided with a nearby red giant.

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