The Bull

Abbreviation: Tau
Genitive: Tauri

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.
β Tau Elnath Elnath was once also identified as γ Aur.
ε Tau Ain So far one exoplanet has been found revolving around this star.
η Tau Alcyone Alcyone is the brightest member of the Pleiades.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Open Cluster Close-up

Hyades/Pleiades identification charts