| TAURUS Chart | Midnight Culmination | Skylore | Description | Asterisms |
| Nebulae | Star Clusters | Discussed in these Shows |

Constellation Data

  • Name: TAURUS
  • Translation: Bull
  • Abbreviation: Tau
  • Genitive: Tauri
  • Size: 17
  • Regions: Zodiac
  • RA: 5 hours
  • Decl: +15 degrees
  • Season: Winter
  • Midnight Culmination: November 30
  • Pages where TAURUS is discussed in Chet Raymo's 365 Starry Nights: 3,11-16,24,40,50-51

What is the Genitive form?
What is Right Ascension (RA)?
Is this constellation ever visible from my latitude? What is Declination?

Where should I look for a constellation on a date before or after its midnight culmination? What is Midnight Culmination?


In the fourth millenium before Christ, the ancient Akkadians recognized a band of constellations they called the Furrow of Heaven, ploughed by the Bull of Heaven, as mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh. At that time Taurus the Bull contained the Sun on the first day of spring.

Roman story of Jupiter turning himself into a bull to carry off Europa, daughter of King of Crete.


Taurus the Bull is easily spotted. Its head is the Hyades, a V-shaped cluster of stars. His horns point outward from the V. Aldebaran is the red eye of the Bull as he charges down upon us.

The night sky of winter is dominated by a giant hexagon pattern. Start with Aldebaran in Taurus, pass on to Rigel in Orion, and come down to Sirius in Canis Major. Continue upward to Procyon, in the Little Dog. Trace on to Pollux and Castor, the two stars of Gemini, and past them to the top of the hexagon, bright yellow Capella, lying almost straight overhead, in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Auriga looks more like a pentagon than a Chariot, perched on top of the horns of Taurus. The Winter Hexagon contains an unrivalled collection of stars: Sirius, below, is the brightest star in the night sky. Capella, above, is the 6th brightest. Rigel is the 7th. Procyon the 8th. Betelgeuse the 10th. Aldebaran, Pollux, and Castor are also among the night's 25 brightest stars.

[star chart]

Star chart created with Voyager II Software for Macintosh, published by Carina Software. This is just a taste of what Voyager can do! For info on Voyager II software, call Carina Software at (510) 355-1266, write them at 12919 Alcosta Blvd Suite #7, San Ramon, CA 94583, or visit Carina Software's home page and check out Voyager II for yourself.


Winter Hexagon

Hyades (V)


What is an Asterism?


M1, Crab Nebula (Supernova remnant), mag. 8.4. In the year 1054 a massive star near the tip of the horn of Taurus exploded.

What are Nebulae?
Table of Messier Objects.
What is apparent Magnitude?

Star Clusters

M45, Pleiades or Seven Sisters (Galactic cluster), mag. 1.6. Like bright jewels on the back of Taurus sit the Pleiades, a tiny cluster of brilliant bluish stars. Most people can see 6 stars, but in antiquity 7 were visible. With binoculars or a telescope you can see many more. Tennyson wrote:
Many a night I saw the Pleiades
rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies
tangled in a silver braid.


What are Star Clusters?

Discussed in these Shows

[Small Logo] ©1997 Welcome to the Basic Celestial Phenomena web site. To provide explanations of basic observational astronomy to students, teachers, families, and visitors to planetariums these pages have been written by an ex-OBU Planetarium Director, Kerry Magruder; the OBU Natural Sciences Coordinator, Mike Keas; and some of the students who work in the OBU planetarium.

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