The constellation Taurus is also one of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. With 797 square degrees, it extends over the winter sky of both hemispheres. The brightest star of the constellation is Aldebaran, which symbolizes the eye of the bull. It is a red giant of the first magnitude.
How to spot Taurus
Taurus can be seen between the latitudes 90° and -65°, best around 9 pm during the month of January. It borders Aries to the west, Auriga to the northeast, Gemini to the east and Eridanus to the south. The V-shaped open star cluster Hyades forms the head of the bull, where Aldebaran represents the Orion facing eye.
The most famous of the many stories about the mythological origin of Taurus is about Zeus, who kidnapped beautiful Europe in the guise of a white bull. She was with her friends on the beach of Tire, as the bull laid down meekly beside them. He was stroked and decorated with flowers until Europe finally rode it along the beach. Slowly, the bull approached the waves and moved deeper and deeper into the rough sea, until he swam, and Europe could only hold on to him. This way Zeus brought Europe to Crete and seduced her there.
In another version, Zeus did not turn himself into a bull, but sent one to kidnap Europe. In Crete, the bull fell in love with the Queen Pasiphae after fulfilling his mission, for which he was punished by the God Poseidon - fire-spitting he devastated then the fields. Finally he was killed by the hero Theseus and sent to heaven.
5,000 years ago, the vernal equinox was in the constellation of Taurus. At that time, the Sumerians saw their God Enki in the heavenly bull. In Greek ancient astronomy, Ptolemy later included Taurus in his description of the 48 constellations. Around 1050 A.D. Chinese astronomers recorded a supernova whose remains are still visible as the Cancer Nebula.