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Taurus, The Bull Constellation

Taurus (Pronounciation:Tore-us, Abbrev:Tau, Latin:Tauri) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Taurus takes up 797.249 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.93% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Bull . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Taurus is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Taurus is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.

The brightest star in Taurus is Aldebaran. There are 21 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Taurus. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Taurus is 119 Tauri. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Taurus Star List Page.

Taurus Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Taurus is 2219. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 143. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 9.

There are 2 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Gliese 176 which is roughly about 30.25 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is Gliese 176 which is about 30.25 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HIP 21533 which is located about 108721.1 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Taurus with the naked eye is 129 Tauri. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Constellation Legend

Taurus was the bull that was terrorising the Island of Crete. After gaining permission from Minos, the King. He set about capturing the bull. Once caught, he took the bull back with him to Eurystheus. Instead of sacrificing it, he released it because Hera feared it would enhance Hercules image.

Items of Interest

The constellation contains two famous star clusters, the Pleiades and the Hyades clusters. The Pleiades is probably the more famous but the Hyades are much closer to the Earth. Both are just about visible as a cloud with the naked eye.

Meteor Showers

There are 33 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Daytime Beta Taurids5 Jun- 17 Jul28-JunElnath
Southern TauridsSept 17-Nov 27Oct. 30-Nov. 7Ushakaron
Northern TauridsOct 12-Dec 2Nov. 4-7

Taurus Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Largest Star119 Tauri
Brightest StarAldebaran
Area797.249 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.93%
Size Position17th
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count21
Meteor Shower Count33
Nearest StarGliese 176
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)Gliese 176
Dimmest Star129 Tauri
Furthest StarHIP 21533
Bright Star Count143
Hipparcos Star Count2219
Main Star Count9
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count1
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsPerseus

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Taurus Constellation Map

Taurus Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Taurus

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Crab Nebula (M1, NGC1952)Supernova Remnant4.9-8.1 kly+22:0105h 34m 5
HyadesOpen Star Cluster153 Ly+15d 52`4h 27m
Merope Nebula (NGC1435)Reflection Nebula440+23:4703h 46h 1
Pleiades (M45)Open Cluster0.39-0.46 kilo+24:0703h 47m 0

Meteor Showers

Southern Taurids Meteor Shower

Associated Comet2P/Encke
Max Activity Date05 Nov
Activity PeriodSept 17-Nov 27
Right Ascension47.9
Solar Longitude216
Alpha Radiant47.9
Zenith Hourly Rate5

Northern Taurids Meteor Shower

Associated Comet2P/Encke
Max Activity Date12 Nov
Activity PeriodOct 12-Dec 2
Right Ascension48.9
Solar Longitude220
Alpha Radiant48.9
Zenith Hourly Rate5

Daytime Beta Taurids Meteor Shower

Associated Comet2P/Encke
Max Activity Date28 Jun
Activity Period5 Jun- 17 Jul
Right Ascension82
Solar Longitude93.5
Alpha Radiant82
Zenith Hourly Rate10

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