How Did Taurus Get Its Name?

The Taurus constellation, also known as "The Bull," gets its name from an ancient myth in which the Greek god Zeus transformed himself into a white bull. Zeus fell in love with a human named Europa and visited her in disguise. Europa was abducted and taken to Crete, where she became Zeus' lover and gave birth to three children.

Although Taurus' Latin name comes from Greco-Roman culture, other ancient civilizations created their own myths to explain the constellation's pattern. In Egypt, Taurus was associated with the bull Apis, a servant of the god Osiris.

Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation and is approximately 70 lightyears from Earth. This massive red giant is located beneath the bull's two branching horns and represents an eye. Taurus also contains three famous star formations: the Hyades, the Pleiades and the Crab Nebula. Hyades is a cluster just below the bull's second eye and is made up of hundreds of stars, located roughly 130 lightyears from earth.

The Pleiades consists of seven stars set apart from the main constellation. Also inspired by Greek mythology, the cluster's name comes from the story of seven sisters who were pursued by the giant Orion. The women were daughters of Pleione and Atlas, and Zeus helped them evade Orion's affections by placing them among the stars.