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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/534

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

amends for neglecting to furnish their heavenly Bull with hind-quarters, the ancients gave him a most prodigious and beautiful pair of horns, which make the beholder feel alarmed for the safety of Orion. Starting out of the head above the Hyades, as illustrated in our cut, the horns curve upward and to the east, each being tipped by a bright star. Along and between the horns runs a scattered and

PSM V32 D530 The golden horns of taurus.jpg
The "Golden Horns" of Taurus.

broken stream of minute stars which seem to be gathered into knots just beyond the end of the horns, where they dip into the edge of the Milky-Way. Many of these stars can be seen, on a dark night, with an ordinary opera-glass, but to see them well, one should use as large a field-glass as he can obtain. With such a glass their appearance almost makes one suspect that Virgil had a poetic prevision of the wonders yet to be revealed by the telescope when he wrote, as rendered by Dry den, of the season—

"When with his golden horns in full career
 The Bull beats down the barriers of the year."

Below the tips of the horns, and over Orion's head, there is also a rich clustering of stars, as if the Bull were flaunting shreds of sparkling raiment torn from some celestial victim of his fury. With an ordinary glass, however, the observer will not find this star-sprinkled region around the horns of Taurus as brilliant a spectacle as that presented by the Hyades and the group of stars just above them in the Bull's ear. The two stars in the tips of the horns are both interesting, each in a different way. The upper and brighter one of the two marked Beta (β) in Map No. 2, is called El Nath. It is common to the left horn of Taurus and the right foot of Auriga, who is represented standing just above. It is a singularly white star. This quality