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The Bull

Taurus is a large and prominent constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere's winter sky.

Taurus' brightest star is the red giant Aldebaran.

Aldebaran is also part of an asterism called the Winter Hexagon

Also part of Taurus is the most prominent star cluster visible to the naked eye, the Pleiades.

Taurus has been know as a constellation even prior to Greek mythology. It is one of the 48 original Ptolemaic Constellations and one of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac.

Taurus in the Night Sky
Legends about the constellation can be found in many cultures.

This section describes the constellation as it is seen in the night sky.

For myth and star lore about Taurus click here.

Star maps based on map provided by Sea & Sky

The stars of Taurus

Number Desig-
Name Number Desig-
1 M1 Crab Nebula 9 γ Hyadum I
2 M45 Pleiades 10 ξ Xi Tauri
3 α Aldebaran 11 δ Hyadum II
4 β Elnath 12 θ1 Chamukuy
5 η Alcyone 13 ν Nu Tauri
6 ζ Tianguan 14 τ Tau Tauri
7 λ Lambda Tauri 15 μ Mu Tauri
8 ε Ain 16 ο Omicron Tauri
17 4 Tauri

Star Clusters

Two prominent star clusters are part of the constellation Taurus, the Pleiades and the Hyades.

The Pleiades consist of over 1,000 stars in a tidal radius of 43 light years. Seven stars are visible to the naked eye.
Although the Pleiades are not one of the defined 88 constellations, we have devoted an extra page to them.

Click here for our Pleiades site.

The Hyades consists of a roughly spherical group of hundreds of stars in a radius of ten light years.

From the perspective of observers on Earth, the Hyades Cluster appears in the constellation Taurus, where its brightest stars form a "V" shape along with the still-brighter Aldebaran. However, Aldebaran is unrelated to the Hyades, as it is located much closer to Earth and merely happens to lie along the same line of sight.

The four brightest stars of the Hyades are Hyadum I (γ Tau), Hyadum II (δ Tau), Ain (ε Tau) and the double star θ1 and θ2 Tau, of which θ1 is called Chamukuy.

For the Wikipedia article on the Hyades, click here.

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