Talk:Taurus (constellation)

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Good article Taurus (constellation) has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Date Process Result
June 26, 2010 Peer review Reviewed
May 24, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article
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What galaxy is Taurus in? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wiwaxia (talkcontribs) 01:31, 4 September 2005

Taurus is an asterism and therefore doesn't live in a galaxy as such. However, most of the components of the constellation are close enough to be in the Milky Way Ian Cairns 01:47, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
The preferred link is now asterism ([[asterism (astronomy)|asterism]]) as asterism points to a disambig page. Paddles 14:17, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
What?? Taurus is not an asterism, and it's in Milky Way, generally, of course!? Said: Rursus 20:06, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

deleted section[edit]

I deleted the following section as garbage. Maybe someone can salvage something?

Value of Taurus in Language
In the 2005 edition of Sky Publishing's annual sky calendar and almanac, there was a sizable article devoted to multiple aspects of the Europa/Taurus myth and its applications to astronomy. In this article the author states that Taurus was the origin of the Phoenician letter aleph, from which descended the initial letter of other semitic alphabets. Aleph, in Phoenician, represents an ox, and does, indeed, have a shape not dissimilar to that of the constellation Taurus. The Greek letter alpha is also derived from aleph, but rotates the symbol so it opens downward. If this is the case, then Taurus is unique as the only constellation that is also a letter.
In a much earlier publication, the Planetarian's Guide to Greek Constellations, Paul M. Bryant says instead that Taurus was represented in Egypt with a "T" shaped hieroglyph, and that this became the Greek letter Tau.

It's nonsensical to say that a constellation is the origin of a letter. Perhaps a hieroglyph representing Taurus was the origin of the letter, but without any reason to believe that's the case, this doesn't belong in an encyclopedia. kwami 10:28, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps I can offer some enlightenment. The author of the article was Guy Otwell, who produces the annual almanacs for Sky Publishing and their magazing Sky and Telescope, and has for several decades. He does propose that the derivation of aleph is from the Egyptian heiroglyph for "bull," "ox" and the constellation of Taurus, and that this mimics the "sideways A" shape of the constellation. He suggests the reason behind the adoption of this symbol for the initial letter of the alefbet was due to the fact that, at the time, (the ancient, larger) Taurus was the site of the vernal equinox and, effectively, was also the start of the year. John P. Hughes, in an article entitled "Langauges and Writing" (which I have reproduced in Language: Readings in Language and Culture, Clarke, et al. 705) correlates part of this connection, stating that the name "alef" is descended from "alep" the ancient semitic word for bull and that the symbol is a simplication of an ideogrammatical representation of a bull. Otwell's theory thus does provide a rather sensible explaination for why this sound would be placed at the start of the alefbet, especially over the Egyptian heiroglyph that already had the phonetic value of the glottal stop (Hughes suggests it was a different one, at least). Otwell himself wrote a paper on the subject. I tried to find it online, but it doesn't seem to be publicly available anywhere, or at my university library. I'll get the citation information if anyone would like to search for the original copy.

If someone were to make modifications to the original section, to include the more accurate information, as well as emphasize it is a theory (which hardly prevents it from being encyclopedic information--or else wikipedia and paper-bound encyclopedia would find themselves rather short of content) it would, to me, justify replacement in the article. It may, perhaps, only deserve a very brief mention in the Taurus article, perhaps better fitting in the article on aleph. I'll certainly spend some time over the next few days to see if we can find more sources to verify this, ideally internet ones so that users can have the (always desirable) primary source documents used to create the article at their disposal for personal critique. - User:QuantumDriver

No, the concept of connecting taurus to aleph is simply too loony! OK, there is a connection: those inventing aleph, sometimes saw bulls - those inventing the constellation taurus, sometimes saw bulls. But that's the real raisin, and it's kind of trivial and nonsential. Rursus 20:29, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

A quick google search reveals piles and piles of pages mentioning this connection. As might be expected most of these pages are on astrology and mysticism (neither of which I am a great fan of), due to the fact it deals with a zodiacal constellation and a letter of the Hebrew alephbet. Admittedly, this connection has a rather astrological twinge to it in not being related to the hard science of astronomy, they do at least corroborate it and support that it is encyclopedic information, worthy of inclusion. This isn't necessarily not a reason to keep it out of what probably should be (and is not completely) an astronomy article, since we wouldn't be making any claims of mysticism or astrology in the article and would simply be interested in showing the theory behind this connection, one which has a daily impact in our lives (several times a day, even, how often have I typed aleph's diminutive Latin descendant here?). If no one else wants to take it up, I plan to re-work this into the article. - User:QuantumDriver

It is commonly believed, though by no means yet demonstrated, that the letter ’alp A was derived from a hieroglyph (glyph F1
) representing a bull's head. However, this may be the first letter because the bull was important to pastoral Semitic peoples, not because Taurus was. Or it may be due to some ABC rhyme used to memorize the alphabet. It certainly makes sense that the first zodiacal sign of the year could be the first letter of the alphabet, but no matter which letter were first, people would imagine some reason why it was so priveledged. If it were the letter hillul E, which means 'jubilation', people would argue this was a forerunner of Semitic monotheism; if it were šimš S, which meant 'sun', people would argue it reflected Egyptian sun worship. Etc etc etc. Besides, in the constellation Taurus the bull has his head lowered so that his horns point forward; in the oldest alphabetic inscriptions from Wadi el-Ħôl, the head is level and the horns point back. As for the sound values, recent reconstructions don't have any of the letters taking their values from Egyptian. They were all given Semitic names. For example, kapp K is supposed to come from the hieroglyph for 'hand', which in Egyptian was d or drt. So the fact that Egyptian
didn't represent a glottal stop is meaningless. I think that an editorial in Sky and Telescope may be worth a brief mention as fun speculation, but we shouldn't give the impression that there is any good reason to believe it. kwami 10:10, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

Someone proposed a move based upon the assumption everything else on the taurus page was named from the constellation. However I would like to see move evidence for this. For example:

Taurus Mountains, located in northern Syria/southern Turkey

We can assume the name arose from the Turkish toros. However whether the word Taurus was used because of the use of Taurus for the constellation in English or perhaps from taurus from Latin is not particular clear. Even if the name was chosed because of the use of the word Taurus for the constellation, the mountains surely have just as much right to the name as the constellation as it originated from the Turkish word whyever that particular word was chosen.

Bos taurus, a species of cattle

Perhaps the constellation had something to do with it but it's just as likely (in fact more so IMHO) that it was used largely indepedently from latin

Montes Taurus, a Lunar mountain range.

Since this name was chosen from the above mountain range, the same arguments apply.

In conclusion, I don't see any real evidence that the constellation should somehow be considered as the true 'owner' of the name Nil Einne 11:30, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

No solid motivation, moved disambiog page back to original page, so that the old situation has been restored. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 02:31, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
The Taurus Mountains and cattle and the Roman figures are certainly just separate derivations from Latin (not Turkish, which is transliterating the Latin name). That has no bearing on "ownership". This page should be moved to Taurus because (apart from the now-discontinued car) this is the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC that most people are looking for when they look for "Taurus". — LlywelynII 02:26, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

discrepancy:English wiki versus Français wiki[edit]

ω² 50 Omega-2 Tauri 4.93 291 in English one (291 distance in light year), and:

ω2 Tau 4,93 2,64 94 A3m (94 is distance in light year) in french one. How is it possible? are diferent measures? measures not homogeneus? error? Pérez 04:25, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe this is fixed now; i think the english one was wrong. Mlm42 21:03, 28 March 2007 (UTC)


I didn't propose the merge, but I agree with it. This article should be merged here, or, at least, someone with some knowledge should deal with it. Also, the article contradicts the title. Thanks! J Milburn 18:47, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I am wondering if the Sumerian name of this constellation should also be added. If I remember correctly, this was GUD.AN.NA ("Bull of Heaven"). Pictonon (talk) 01:13, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

How did Taurus look 14'500 BC??[edit]

The article very boldly says:

The identification of the constellation of Taurus as a bull may be very old. Michael Rappenglück of the University of Münich believes that Taurus is represented in the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux.[1] The paintings are some 16,500 years old. One of the painted bulls is near a cluster of dots that looks like the Pleiades, and which is the correct position over its shoulder to be that asterism.[2] ...

Considering proper motion of stars, this sounds to be in conflict with physics. As much as I remember, the big dipper looked like a tea spoon with broken handle 10'000 years ago! Has anyone seriously tried to compute what Taurus looked like 14'500 BC?! Rursus 20:36, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

As much as I could get info on, this guy Michael Rappenglück doesn't even seem to be aware of the proper motions of stars – he seems to be aware of the precession and the movement of the celestial pole, but nothing about star movements. Rursus 20:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Autodebunk: Rappenglück is very well aware of the proper motions! Therefore I redraw all my doubts ... for now! Rursus 21:00, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I've temporarily mislaid the print-out of a paper (probably by Rappenglück) I have on this subject, but I recall that the paintings-Taurus identifications rested not only on one Lascaux painting's inclusion of the Pleiades (on a forequarters-only depiction much like the usual visualisation of the constellation), but also on another painting (possibly in a different cave) seeming to represent correctly the Hyades as they would have been allowing for their proper motions between then and now. Having studied the motion of the latter cluster (which enables its distance to be calculated), on a university Astronomy course in the 1970s I was greatly struck by this.
[NB: for non-astronomers reading this, the Hyades is an open star cluster similar to and closer to the Sun than the Pleiades, though less prominent, which forms the 'face' of the bull in the constellation of Taurus.]
The prehistoric cattle concerned (Aurochs) are depicted with a white, black-spotted face in several cave paintings. One could argue that the apparent spot-star correspondances on one of them could be coincidental; one could also surmise that the fortuitious resemblance between the actual animals and the appearance of the celestial asterism led to the early 'recognition' of this constellation. (talk) 05:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced statement[edit]

I removed the following unsourced statement from the paragraph on Greek mythology because I could find nothing to confirm it:

The tale informs the names of constellations since it is necessary to traverse the area of sky known as the Sea to reach it.[citation needed]

RJH (talk) 17:07, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Taurus (constellation)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:58, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

Aaahahhahahahahahaha, let's start complaining about things Seriously, I'll copyedit as I go (please revert me if'n I guff the meaning) and I'll jot queries below....Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:58, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

  • I'd note somewhere about the whole Beta Tauri/Gamma Aurigae issue.
  • Epsilon Tauri is listed as a see also for some reason. Should be a sentence or two on it and placed in the body of the text. Ditto Gliese 176 and other objects listed there.
    • Well, those are footnotes intended to clarify the infobox entries, rather than "See also" links. Is that still an issue? RJH (talk)
      • Hmmmmm, not a deal-breaker. Funny how seealso sections seem to work better for star articles than bio ones....Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Decide what you want to call particular stars - you have zeta Tauri and ζ Tau within a few sentences - it's good to align them all.
    • I changed ζ Tau to ζ Tauri. The 'ζ' was listed earlier next to Zeta. RJH (talk)
  • Looking at Category:Taurus (constellation) are there any other objects (variable stars, binaries, nebulae or galaxies) worth mentioning for an exhaustive list. At 27k the article isn't particularly large, so we can make it a really comprehensive directory.
    • There's always double stars, but how far do we want to take that before it starts becoming a catalogue? θ12 is mentioned as a "pretty pair visible to the naked eye". It could probably mention NGC 1514, which has historical importance, plus R Tauri, which is a Mira-type variable. I don't see much else that stands out prominently. RJH (talk)
      • Hmmm, I guess we have a trailblazer in Andromeda (constellation) now, which is definitely more listy. I guess given the size of the articles, we can afford to make them fairly comprehensive directories...for instance, the location of many objects is having a link from where they are in the sky (i.e. which constellation they're in is very good) Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
        • Mmm, well I was definitely not interested in following the bullet-ed style of the Andromeda article. Face-smile.svg We already have a List of stars in Taurus article, so I was more or less focusing on making it a sampler of the highlights than in putting together a detailed catalog. Shrug. Probably that would be needed to satisfy the comprehensiveness requirement of an FA article. RJH (talk) 03:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
  • If this is going to FAC, then references should all be in title case.
    • I wasn't planning on it, but I went through and make the case usage consistent. RJH (talk)
      • Oh dear....I meant, like, Title did it all the other way... :/ Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:01, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
        • My understanding was that the titles all need to be one way or the other. I.e. just to be consistent, per WP:CITEVAR. RJH (talk) 03:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Overall, prose and referencing looks good. Little to nag about. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:32, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

1. Well written?:

Prose quality:
Manual of Style compliance:

2. Factually accurate and verifiable?:

References to sources:
Citations to reliable sources, where required:
No original research:

3. Broad in coverage?:

Major aspects:

4. Reflects a neutral point of view?:

Fair representation without bias:

5. Reasonably stable?

No edit wars, etc. (Vandalism does not count against GA):

6. Illustrated by images, when possible and appropriate?:

Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:


Pass or Fail: Meh. We're there...Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to review the article. I'll try to add some more information in the future, but I think its got the important points covered. Regards, RJH (talk) 21:09, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Indian mythology[edit]

A reference is needed for the following:

In Indian mythology and astronomy Taurus is known as Brisha meaning bull.

Regards, RJH (talk) 01:28, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Actually, it seems to be called Vṛṣabha (Vrishabha), meaning bull.[1][2] Aldebaran is called Rohinī,[3] meaning "the red one", which forms one of the Nakshatra, or lunar mansions. The latter is also called brāhmī. RJH (talk)

File:Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Taurus.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Taurus.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on May 21, 2016. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2016-05-21. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:20, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Picture of the day

Taurus is a large and prominent constellation in the northern hemisphere's winter sky, and one of the oldest constellations. Taurus marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox and thus influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of Ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Taurus hosts two of the nearest open clusters to Earth, the Pleiades and the Hyades, both of which are visible to the naked eye; it also hosts the red giant Aldebaran (the brightest star in the constellation) and the supernova remnant Messier 1, more commonly known as the Crab Nebula.

This illustration comes from Urania's Mirror, a set of 32 astronomical star chart cards first published in November 1824.

Lithograph: Sidney Hall; restoration: Adam Cuerden
ArchiveMore featured pictures...