Tau - Taurus the Bull

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.

Special Stars

Aldebaran, a red giant star, is the red eye of the bull. Although it is superimposed among the bright white stars of the Hyades, it is not part of the Hyades star cluster, but appears along the same line of sight.

Origin and History

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.

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

Numerous stars of the Pleiades are depicted in Galileo’s first published account of his telescopic observations, the Starry Messenger (1610).

Skylore, Literature and Culture

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.

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