Beta Tauri

Beta Tauri (β Tau / β Tauri) is the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus, with apparent magnitude 1.7. Because it is on the boundary of Taurus with Auriga, it also has the redundant Bayer designation Gamma Aurigae (γ Aur), which is today very rarely used. It also has the traditional name Elnath or El Nath.

Relative to our Sun, this star is notable for a high abundance of manganese, but a paucity of calcium and magnesium. This star has begun to evolve away from the main sequence, becoming a giant.

This star can be occulted by the moon. Such occultations occur when the moon's ascending node is near the vernal equinox, as is the case in 2007. Most occultations are visible only in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, because the star lies at the northern edge of the lunar occultation zone. Rarely, it may be occulted as far north as southern California.

The traditional name is from the Arabic النطح an-naţħ "the butting" (i.e., with the bull's horns). As in many other (but not all) Arabic star names, the article ال is transliterated literally as el, despite the fact that in Arabic pronunciation it's assimilated to the following n.


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