Constellation Taurus: legend, number of stars, famous people of the sign

If you look closely at the canvas of the night sky, the chaos of stars can turn into a system. Scattered bright points form figures called constellations. And to those who show a little curiosity, the truth will be revealed – behind each image lies a discovery, a unique story, coming to life in the imagination of the dreamer.

It turns out that in the darkness of the distant cosmos, there “live” many animals, insects, and birds, both real and mythical characters from legends and myths, and even some household items. For example, from June to April, an observer from the Northern regions of Russia can easily see Taurus – a beautiful zodiacal constellation, one of the richest star clusters.

Legends about the origin of the constellation:

Zeus – the trickster

Zeus
Zeus

This figure in the night sky was noticed by the ancient Greeks. People from the past not only noticed a cluster of stars that outlines a mighty horned animal but also tried to explain where this image came from. Where science is powerless, imagination comes to the rescue.

Thus, in one of the myths, Taurus is named after the reflection of the supreme god Zeus himself. Being passionate about female beauty, he once noticed the only daughter of the Phoenician king, the young Europa. With her charm and slender figure, she conquered the heart of the god of Olympus. To attract the attention of the girl, the ruler of Olympus turned into a mighty bull and hid among the king’s herd.

Together with her friends, Europa was walking in the meadow and saw an unusual animal. Its gaze seemed too thoughtful to the princess, but due to youth and naivety, this did not bother her. On the contrary, she expressed a desire to ride it. Europa called the bull to herself, firmly grabbed its horns, and jumped onto the animal’s back. At the same moment, as soon as the beauty landed on Zeus’s back, he rushed off and was transported very far – to the island of Crete, to fully enjoy the company of the king’s daughter away from prying eyes.

The Seventh Labor of Hercules

The bull is mentioned in another myth. This is one of the stories about Hercules. Once Poseidon sent a snow-white bull to King Minos as a sign of his favor and ordered him to sacrifice its blood to the gods. The earthly ruler could not bring himself to kill such a perfect creature. Instead, he sacrificed several animals from his personal herd. Such disobedience provoked the wrath of Poseidon. To punish Minos, he cursed the bull, depriving it of reason. The strong and large animal began to rampage across the island, destroying everything and everyone in its path.

To help the islanders, Hercules arrived. The mighty hero, in his seventh labor, entered into a confrontation with the mad cloven-hoofed creature and emerged victorious. The snow-white bull was not guilty in what happened, so the gods showed mercy and granted it immortality, turning it into the brightest stars in the sky.
How many stars are in the constellation Taurus

Taurus occupies a celestial space of about 797 square degrees. This constellation is classified as multi-starred: far from artificial light sources on a clear night, the naked eye can distinguish about 130-150 bright points in the night sky, forming a quite recognizable pattern.Taurus

The most prominent star is considered to be the orange Alpha Tauri, or Aldebaran (translated from Arabic as “the follower”). It is also often called the Bull’s Eye. Remarkably, the diameter of this “eye” is almost 40 times larger than that of our familiar Sun. It also surpasses our star in brightness by about 150 times (apparent visual magnitude of 0.68).

Alpha Tauri is surrounded by a cluster of other celestial objects – these are the so-called Hyades. In the perception of Earthlings, they form the head of the celestial bull.

The second brightest in the constellation is Beta Tauri – the blue giant El Nath (translated from Arabic as “the butting”). The third position in this ranking is held by Eta Tauri, or the double star Alcyone. The fourth is Zeta, followed by Lambda. And finally, Epsilon Tauri or Ain – the “second eye” and also an orange giant.

It is worth noting other astronomical objects that are part of the constellation:

  • The Pleiades, also known as the “Seven Sisters” star cluster. According to belief, these are the souls of the daughters of Atlas – the Titan who holds the celestial vault on his shoulders.
  • The Crab Nebula – a Messier object, the remains of the supernova explosion of 1054.
  • The Ghost Nebula, belonging to the reflection nebulae. It has a “dual address” and is simultaneously included in the constellations of Taurus and Auriga.
  • The Taurid and Beta Taurid meteor showers.
  • The constellation Taurus officially received its astronomical status in the 2nd century when Claudius Ptolemy included it in his “Almagest” under the Latin name Taurus.

Interesting facts:

  • The Taurus constellation indeed resembles a large horned animal by its outlines. This happens quite rarely; usually, to discern the image, one needs not only imagination but also wit.
  • The described stellar figure was associated with a cloven-hoofed animal not only by the Greeks. In Mesopotamia, it was called the “Celestial Bull” and was associated with the vengeful goddess Ishtar. Legend has it that once among mortals there was one who dared to reject her love. Then she created a celestial bull and sent it to earth to kill the daring man.
  • Taurus contains the point of the vernal equinox. Therefore, in Babylon, it was considered the first sign of the zodiac.
  • In the constellation, there is currently a process of merging a pair of galaxies NGC 1409 and NGC 1410 into a single system.
  • The Crab Nebula, according to researchers, tends to increase in volume. Due to confusion in the indicators, it was discovered twice: in 1731 and 1758.

Celebrities born under the sign of Taurus:

Tauruses almost always achieve their goals through perseverance. Therefore, among them, there are quite a few celebrities:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Actor, producer, and former professional wrestler known for his roles in blockbuster films like “Fast & Furious” and “Jumanji.”
  • Gal Gadot: Israeli actress and model, best known for her portrayal of Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe films.
  • George Clooney: Award-winning actor, director, and producer known for his roles in films like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Gravity.”
  • Cate Blanchett: Acclaimed Australian actress known for her versatile roles in films such as “Blue Jasmine,” “Carol,” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
  • Jessica Alba: Actress and entrepreneur known for her roles in films like “Fantastic Four” and for founding The Honest Company.
  • John Cena: Professional wrestler, actor, and television presenter known for his time in WWE and roles in films like “Trainwreck” and “F9.”
  • Kirsten Dunst: Actress known for her roles in films like “Spider-Man,” “Interview with the Vampire,” and “Melancholia.”

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