The Constellation Directory


"The Bull"


By IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abbreviation: Tau
Genitive: Tauri
Constellation family: Zodiac
Nearest constellations: Aries, Auriga, Cetus, Eridanus, Gemini, Orion, and Perseus
Right ascension: 4.27h
Declination: 18.87°
Visible between latitudes: +90° and -65°
Square degrees: 797
Luminary: Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri)
Named stars: Aldebaran, Alnath, Hyadum I, Hyadum II, Ain, Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Taygeta, Maia, Asterope, Merope, and Pleione
Notable deep sky objects: M1 (Crab Nebula), M45, NGC 1555, NGC 1647, NGC 1746, NGC 1807, NGC 1817


Taurus is a large constellation in the Northern Hemisphere that is visible in January.

Alpha Tauri, traditionally called Aldebaran, is the fourteenth-brightest star in the night sky and represents the eye of the bull. It is also part of the Winter Hexagon (also known as the Winter Circle), which is an asterism visible in the winter in the Northern Hemisphere that consists of Aldebaran and five other stars from nearby constellations: Capella (from Auriga), Sirius (from Canis Major), Procyon (from Canis Minor), Pollux (from Gemini), and Rigel (from Orion).

Taurus by Johannes Hevelius

By Johannes Hevelius [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Taurus is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac.


In Greek mythology, Taurus represents Zeus disguised as a pure white bull. He transformed himself into a bull to seduce Europa, who was the daughter of King Agenor and princess of Phoenicia. Zeus, in animal form, wandered with King Agenor's herds and Europa was attracted to his gentleness and beauty as a bull. Eventually, she climbed onto Zeus's back and he carried her to Crete where he made her one of his mistresses.