This week, take a look at the constellation Taurus, which has been revered for thousands of years.
Discover one of the oldest known constellations this week. Taurus, also known as the bull of heaven, was initially identified by the Babylonians around 1000BC, though it may have been connected to a bull by other civilizations even earlier. In the Lascaux cave network in France, cave paintings dating back 17,000 years depict what seem to be similar patterns to the stars in Taurus, along with a stunning depiction of a bull.
Taurus is a constellation in the zodiac, which signifies that the sun’s trajectory crosses through its boundaries in the sky. Before Taurus is Aries, represented by the ram, and after it is Gemini, represented by the twins.
The charts shows the view looking east from London at 8pm GMT this week. The brightest star in Taurus is Aldebaran. The name means “eye of the bull” in Arabic. It is an enormous red giant star and shines with a distinctly orange hue. A V-shaped collection of stars marks the rest of the bull’s face. Above the bull’s shoulder sits the easily recognised star cluster called the Pleiades, or the seven sisters.
During this time of year, Taurus can be observed in the southern hemisphere, appearing low in the north-eastern sky around 11pm.