The stellar grouping that forms the constellation of Taurus is one of the most easily recognizable associations in the sky. The wide "V" shape of the head of the bull, and its prominent star Aldebaran plus the beautiful cluster of the Pleiades makes Taurus one of the marvels of the night sky. The constellation dates from antiquity, and has been recognized as a heavenly bull by practically every civilization on the face of the Earth; indeed, it is one of few constellations that actually look like the beasts they represent! In Greek mythology the constellation represents the Bull that Zeus became to run off with the nymph Europa. Only the head and shoulders of the bull are depicted in the sky and originate with this tale as the bull bore Europa across a river, making the body invisible. The constellations of Taurus and Auriga are fused together into a large pattern in the sky which tells the tale of Hu Gadarn, the first man to link oxen to the plough. The entire assembly starts with Bootes the herdsman, that role now taken by Hu Gadarn, moves in a line through Ursa Major and comes down through Auriga to Taurus the oxen. If Hu is handling the plough, then it is easy to see why the seven stars of Ursa Major are so named in British tradition, although why Auriga is seen as the link to the oxen is now lost. On a dark winter's night, Taurus dwells high in the sky as seen from Britain, and contains several objects of note.

Notable Objects

The bright orange star Aldebaran. The bright cluster Messier 45 “the Pleiades” Messier 1 the “Crab nebula” a supernova remnant the Hyades, the star cluster making up the face of the bull