International Star Registry

All Constellations

Taurus - Bull

Represented in an attitude of rage, Taurus is always about ready to plunge into Orion, who seems to invite the battle by his antagonistic stance of attack. Only the head and shoulders of Taurus are depicted by the stars.

The constellation Taurus contains the Pleiades, a bright grouping of stars representing the seven sisters of Greek mythology, the daughters of Atlas. It also contains Hyades, a cluster of twenty-four stars, visible to the naked eye, marking the head of the bull.

The Crab Nebula, or M-1, in the northern part of Taurus is a remnant of a supernova, a star that exploded in 1054 A.D. It is interesting to astronomers because it is recent and still expanding. M-1 is also known as Taurus A, a designation for its radio emission sources.

According to Greek mythology, this is the animal which bore Europa over the seas to that country which now bears her name. Daughter of Agenor and princess of Phoenicia, Europa was so beautiful that Jupiter became enamored of her. Jupiter assumed the shape of the snow-white bull, and mingled with the herds of Agenor while Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers in the meadows. Europa caressed the beautiful animal and at last had the courage to sit on his back. Taking advantage of the situation, Jupiter safely crossed the sea with her to Crete.

Some suppose Europa lived about 1552 years before the Christian era. It is more likely, however, that this constellation had a place in the zodiac before the Greeks began to cultivate a knowledge of the stars, and that it was an invention of the Egyptians or Chaldeans. Both the Egyptians and Persians worshipped a deity named Apis under this figure. The archeologist Belzoni is said to have found an embalmed bull in the tomb of Seti near Thebes.

Taurus also was known in China as TaLeang, the great bridge, between Hyades and Pleiades. Jesuit missionaries anglicized this to Kim Neu, the golden ox, to fit in with the western Taurus.

In the Hebrew zodiac, Taurus is ascribed to Joseph, according to some lists, but to Issachar according to the Encyclopedia Judaica.
Right Ascension 04:28
Diameter (°)19
Area (square °)797
Opposition Dec 01
Size Rank 17th
Brightness Rank 10th