Taurus - 1

Taurus is a Zodiacal constellation otherwise known as the Bull. It is one of the 48 Greek constellations originally described by the 2nd century astronomer Claudius Ptolemy (Wikipedia). Taurus remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union (Wikipedia).

Taurus (abbrev. = Tau; genitive = Tauri) covers 797 square degrees or 1.93% of the celestial sphere making it the 17th largest constellation. It contains 223 stars brighter than apparent magnitude 6.5, the brightest star being Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). See the Taurus Star Chart for a figure illustrating this constellation including the identification of its brighter stars.

The V-shaped arrangement of stars making up the "face" of Taurus is an open cluster known as the Hyades. The bright orange star in the Hyades is Aldebaran. It is the brightest naked eye star in Taurus and has an apparent magnitude of 0.87.

The small, conspicuous asterism resembling a tiny dipper is the open cluster named the Pleiades (M45). In April 2012, planet Venus passed through the Pleiades creating a stunning composition (see Venus-Pleiades Conjunction).

See Taurus 2 for a close-up view of this constellation. Taurus & Venus shows the constellation and the brilliant evening star in April 2012.

For more information see the entries for Taurus at Wikipedia and U. Wisconsin. For a chart of Taurus, see Tau (IAU).

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