Taurus is one of the constellations of the zodiac, which means it is crossed by the plane of the ecliptic. Taurus is a large and prominent constellation in the northern hemispheres winter sky and it is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox. Its importance to the agricultural calendar influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of Ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, a number of features exist that are of interest to astronomers. Taurus hosts two of the nearest open clusters to Earth, the Pleiades and the Hyades, both of which are visible to the naked eye, at first magnitude, the red giant Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation. In the northwest part of Taurus is the supernova remnant Messier 1, one of the closest regions of active star formation, the Taurus-Auriga complex, crosses into the northern part of the constellation. The variable star T Tauri is the prototype of a class of pre-main-sequence stars, in September and October, Taurus is visible in the evening along the eastern horizon. The most favorable time to observe Taurus in the sky is during the months of December. By March and April, the constellation will appear to the west during the evening twilight and this constellation forms part of the zodiac, and hence is intersected by the ecliptic. This circle across the sphere forms the apparent path of the Sun as the Earth completes its annual orbit. As the orbital plane of the Moon and the planets lie near the ecliptic, the galactic plane of the Milky Way intersects the northeast corner of the constellation and the galactic anticenter is located near the border between Taurus and Auriga. Taurus is the only constellation crossed by all three of the equator, celestial equator, and ecliptic. A ring-like galactic structure known as the Goulds Belt passes through the Taurus constellation, the recommended three-letter abbreviation for the constellation, as adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1922, is Tau. The official constellation boundaries, as set by Eugène Delporte in 1930, are defined by a polygon of 26 segments. In the equatorial coordinate system, the right ascension coordinates of these borders lie between 03h 23. 4m and 05h 53. 3m, while the coordinates are between 31. 10° and −1. 35°. Because a small part of the lies to the south of the celestial equator. During November, the Taurid meteor shower appears to radiate from the direction of this constellation. The Beta Taurid meteor shower occurs during the months of June and July in the daytime, between 18 and 29 October, both the Northern Taurids and the Southern Taurids are active, though the latter stream is stronger. However, between November 1 and 10, the two streams equalize, the brightest member of this constellation is Aldebaran, an orange-hued, spectral class K5 III giant star
Image: Taurus CC
Central area of constellation Taurus, showing Aldebaran at the lower left.