Taurus (constellation)

Taurus (constellation)

Infobox Constellation
name = Taurus
abbreviation = Tau
genitive = Tauri
symbology = the Bull
RA = 4
dec = 2
areatotal = 797
numbermainstars = 7
numberbfstars = 130
numberstarsplanets = 3
numberbrightstars = 4
numbernearbystars = 2
brighteststarname = Aldebaran (α Tau)
starmagnitude = 0.9
neareststarname = 10 Tau
stardistance = 44.7
numbermessierobjects = 2
meteorshowers = Taurids
Beta Taurids
bordering = Auriga
latmax = 90
latmin = 65
month = January

Taurus (it looks like a bull) (pronEng|ˈtɔrəs, _la. "bull", symbol .


Both the Latin word ' and the Ancient Greek word ', meaning "bull", derive from the Proto-Indo-European noun "*táwros", also meaning "bull", itself in turn probably a borrowing from Proto-Semitic noun "", meaning "ox, bull". Version of Proto-Indo-European noun with the initial s-mobile was "*stawros", the ancestor of the English words "steer", "steed", and "stud". ["Indo-European Roots," in "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition." Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.]

Notable deep sky objects

Behind Aldebaran lie the Hyades, the nearest distinct open star cluster, that with it form a V, or an A, in the sky marking the bull's head.

In the west of the constellation lie the Pleiades, one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the eye.

Another object, visible in a telescope, is the Crab Nebula (M1), a supernova remnant northwest of ζ Tauri. The explosion, seen on Earth on July 4, 1054, was bright enough to be seen by day. It is mentioned in Chinese history texts.

Mythology for the term Taurus

The identification of the constellation of Taurus as a bull is very old. However, we should be cautious when trying to link prehistoric phenomena with the symbolism of a number of ancient, literate cultures whose interactions and appropriations can be evaluated through the examination of their own written accounts, images and artifacts. Because prehistoric people did not document their lives in texts, we can only try to gauge the significance of their images by analyzing them in the context of other artifacts and evidence that survive from their world. We do not have their own words or voices to interpret pictures or explain if they are supposed to represent anything other than what they appear to be: massive bulls, galloping horses, deer and so on.

Nonetheless, Michael Rappenglück of the University of Munich believes that Taurus is represented in the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux. [ [http://www.infis.org/ Institute for Interdisciplinary Science ] ] The French paintings date to approximately 15,000-13,000 BCE, i.e., long before their creators' descendants developed a written language that presents clear signs of their culture. The theoretical connection made between a constellation and just one of many images of bulls in the caves at Lascaux should arouse skepticism. Amateurs should note that the association between constellations and Lascaux has not entered canonical scholarly literature, nor respected textbooksWho|date=October 2007 that are revised and updated frequently to accommodate new, scholarly discoveries.

For further information regarding Rappenglück's theory, cf. a recent report by the British Broadcasting Corporation [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/871930.stm BBC News | SCI/TECH | Ice Age star map discovered ] ] . It should also be noted that large prehistoric images of bulls are found throughout Southwest France and Spain, joining prehistoric European sculptures of bulls rendered in stone, clay and bone whose significance continues to fascinate and intrigue. No one has been able to "solve" the puzzle they present to us nor crack any code we may wish was there. None of the murals conform to contemporary notions of a framed composition, so the idea that one out of many paintings of bulls charts the skies with discernible coordinates on a compass must also raise doubts.

Shũr was the name used in ancient Babylon for Taurus. [Allen, Richard Hinckley, "STAR NAMES Their Lore and Meaning", pg 382, Dover Publications, 1899 (1963) ISBN 0-486-21079-0]

In Greek mythology, Zeus assumes the form of a magnificent white bull to abduct Europa, a legendary Phoenician princess, and thus, fathers Minos. The tale informs the names of constellations since it is necessary to traverse the area of sky known as the Sea to reach it. When passing through the Zodiac, it forms the origin of the myth of the Cretan Bull, one of The Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Minos inspires the name given to the ancient Aegean civilization of Crete. Minoan culture predates the rise of ancient civilizations on the Greek mainland. We can trace the ubiquitous image of the bull in Minoan culture to the Ancient Near Eastern world whose courts, tombs and temples are filled with images that tie their power to that of the bull.


In Western Astrology the sun is in front of Taurus from April 21 to May 21 in the tropical zodiac and May 14 to June 19 in the sidereal zodiac.



* Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). "Stars and Planets Guide", Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

External links

* [http://www.allthesky.com/constellations/taurus/constell.html The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Taurus]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/871930.stm BBC article on the possibility of Taurus being represented in Lascaux]
* [http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/taurus.htm Star Tales – Taurus]

Astrologers believe that the planet Venus, named for the ancient goddess of love and beauty, rules Taurus

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