Tau

  • Tau - Taurus the Bull

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    17 of 88

    Intro and Visual description

    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.

    Taurus is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.
    Biblical references: The Pleiades are mentioned in Job 9:7-9 and Job 38:31-33, and Amos 5:8. Other constellations alluded to in the Bible are Ursa Major and Orion.

    Skylore and Literature

  • Fusion Image 4

    Source: Johann Bayer, Uranometria ("Measuring the Heavens"; Ulm, 1661); History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries
    Object: M1, the Crab Nebula, in Taurus the Bull; Hubble Space Telescope, NASA
    Composite: The Sky Tonight, skytonight.org (CC-by)

    Object description

    In the year 1054 a massive star near the tip of a horn of Taurus exploded, creating a spectacular cloud of gas. It appeared as a faint smudge of light in 18th-century telescopes. Charles Messier wrote of M1:

    “This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.”

    The Messier catalog eventually numbered 110 objects, starting with this supernova remnant.

    Fusion Image 4

    Constellations IAU Abbr

    Tau

    Constellation description

    Taurus the Bull is included in the ancient star catalogs of Eudoxos of Knidos, Aratos of Soli, and Ptolemy.

    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.

    Source Description

    First published in Augsburg in 1603, Bayer’s atlas consists of 51 double-page copperplate engravings.

    Bayer labeled the stars with Greek letters, according to their apparent magnitude, so that the brightest star in Taurus, the reddish Aldebaran, is alpha-Tauri. This convention is still used today. The “ecliptic,” or annual path of the Sun, runs across the Taurus plate in the center of the horizontal band representing the Zodiac.

    Bayer-1661
  • Fusion Image 8

    Source: Johann Bode, Uranographia (Berlin, 1801); History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries
    Object: M45, the Pleiades, in Taurus the Bull; Bob Star (CC-by)
    Composite: The Sky Tonight, skytonight.org (CC-by)
    Fusion Image 8

    Constellations IAU Abbr

    Tau

    Source Description

    Bode’s magnificent atlas fused artistic beauty and scientific precision. 20 large copperplate engravings plot more than 17,000 stars, far more than any previous atlas. Bode depicted more than 100 constellations, compared with 88 officially recognized today. Bode also included 2,500 cloudy patches, or “nebulae,” cataloged by William Herschel.  Bode, director of the Observatory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, produced the last of the four major celestial atlases in which artful depictions of constellation figures appear alongside the most up-to-date scientific data.

    Bode-1801