1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Taurus
TAURUS (“the Bull”), in astronomy, the second sign of the zodiac (q.v.), denoted by the symbol ♉. It is also a constellation of very great antiquity, the Pleiades and Hyades, two star clusters, being possibly referred to in the Old Testament; Aldebaran, a star, is mentioned by Hesiod and Homer. Ptolemy catalogued 44 stars, Tycho Brahe 43, Hevelius 51. The Greeks fabled this constellation to be the bull which bore Europa across the seas to Crete, and was afterwards raised to the heavens by Jupiter. α Tauri, or Aldebaran, is a brilliant star of a reddish colour and magnitude 1.2; this star is the principal object of the group named the Hyades, named after the seven daughters of Atlas and Aethra—Ambrosia, Coronis, Eudora, Pasithoë, Plexaris, Pytho and Tycho—fabled by the Greeks to have been transformed into stars by Jupiter for bewailing the death of their brother Hyas. Another star group in this constellation is the Pleiades. λ Tauri is an “Algol” variable, varying in magnitude from 3.4 to 4.2. Nebula M.1 Tauri is a famous “crab” nebula, so named by Lord Rosse from its clawlike protuberances; it is the first of the series of nebula on the enumeration of Messier.