Taurus the Bull is a constellation of the zodiac that you can see during Northern Hemisphere winter and spring (or Southern Hemisphere summer and fall) in the evening sky. The sun passes through the constellation Taurus from about May 14 to June 21, but you can’t see Taurus when the sun is within its borders. Instead, try looking for Taurus in the early evening sky at the opposite end of the year.

The three stars of Orion’s Belt always point to the star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster. Image via Jane/ Flickr.
To see Taurus, start by looking along the sun’s path.
Just remember that, by definition, zodiacal constellations are those that mark the sun’s yearly path across our sky. That’s what made them so important and special to the early stargazers – and it also will help guide your eye to these constellations in the night sky.

Once you’ve gotten yourself oriented with respect to the sun’s path, then let the three famous Belt stars of the constellation Orion the Hunter guide your eye. Orion and Taurus are next-door neighbors on the sky’s dome. Practiced stargazers often use Orion’s Belt to find Taurus’ most prominent signposts: the V-shaped Hyades star cluster with the bright star Aldebaran in its midst, and the magnificent Pleiades star cluster.

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In other words, as you can see from the illustration above, Orion’s Belt points to Aldebaran and the Pleiades.

Taurus is one of the most spectacular constellations in the nighttime sky. In addition to Aldebaran, Taurus has the intriguing star Elnath. Plus it has two fine star clusters, the Pleiades and the Hyades. And this constellation is the radiant point for the annual Taurus meteor shower in November.

What’s more, Taurus also features the telescopic Crab Nebula (M1), the remains of a cataclysmic supernova explosion that lit up the daytime sky in 1054 A.D.

Europa carried by Zeus, after he was transformed into a bull. Terracotta figurine from Boeotia, ca. 470 B.C.-450 B.C. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Taurus the Bull in mythology and timekeeping.
According to Greek mythology, the constellation Taurus commemorates the god Zeus changing himself into a beautiful white Bull to win the affections of the Phoenician princess Europa. After Europa hopped onto the Bull’s back, the Bull swam across the Mediterranean Sea, taking Europa all the way to the island of Crete. Zeus and Europa became the parents of Minos, the legendary king of Crete.

The Zuni of New Mexico used the Pleiades cluster as an agricultural calendar. When the Pleiades – which the Zuni called the Seed Stars – disappeared into the western dusk in spring, they knew it was safe to plant their seeds, as the danger of frost had passed. But the Zuni also knew the planting must be done before the Pleiades reappeared in the east before sunrise – else immature plants would succumb to autumn frosts.

The Zuni were hardly alone in their reverence for Taurus’ Pleiades star cluster. Probably no other star formation has enjoyed such worldwide renown for timekeeping, celebration and storytelling.

The sun on the June solstice shines in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull, so Taurus rises and sets with the sun, and is lost in the sun’s glare at this time of year. But in late autumn, winter and early spring, the constellation Taurus the Bull is clearly visible in the evening sky.

The ecliptic – the sun’s yearly path through the constellations of the Zodiac – passes through the constellation Taurus the Bull, to the north of the star Aldebaran and to the south of the Pleiades star cluster. The sun shines in front of Taurus from about May 14 to June 21.
Bottom line: Constellation Taurus the Bull: How to find it your night sky, some of its bright stars and star clusters, mythology.

Due to the precession of Equinox, the zodiacal sign of Taurus does not coincide with the constellation of Taurus. It is a continuation of the sign of Aries and represents the second 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. The sign of Aries represents the beginning of spring and with it the beginning of life, while Taurus is a fixed sign that continues what Aries has started. Life is in full bloom in the sign of Taurus.

The stars in Taurus constellation host two open clusters, the Pleiades and the Hyades and are mostly located at the end of the sign of Taurus and the beginning of the zodiacal sign of Gemini. In the Early Bronze Age it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox, just like the constellation of Aries represented the equinox over 2000 years ago. The constellation of Taurus was linked to it 5000 to 1700 BC, before the precession of the equinox moved our perspective to the sign of Aries.

Taurus is one of the oldest known constellations. It is thought that it was presented in cave paintings, dating about 15000 BC but not until the Babylonian astronomy was it represented as a bull, named “The bull of heaven” or “The bull in front”. Its importance to the agricultural calendar influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and of course Greece and Rome.

The Myth Of Taurus
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest works of literature, Taurus is sent by the goddess Ishtar to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances, while in early Mesopotamian art it was closely associated with Inane, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare. Although many cultures have had a story connected to the sign of Taurus, the most vivid myths are those from ancient Greece. There are two of them, both linked closely to the king of gods, Zeus (his Roman equivalent was Jupiter).

The first myth links Taurus to Zeus abducting Europa, a legendary Phoenician princess. While she was having fun with her friends on a sea shore, Zeus fell in love with her and approached her disguised as a while bull. Europa was attracted to the beauty and the meekness of the bull kneeling in front of her, and jumped on his back to ride him. With her on his back, he swam and took her across the water to Crete, where she gave birth to his three sons. After this, she married the Crete king Assertion from whom these children inherited the rule of the island.

The second myth is in relation to Zeus’ first infidelity to Hera, with Hera’s personal priestess Io. When Hera realized she was being deceived, she got really angry. Zeus turned Io into a heifer in order to protect her from Hera’s rage. Thanks to Argus, the all-seeing monster, Hera found out about this and cursed Io to wonder the world enchanted, as a cow, stung by a gadfly continuously, so she would be forced to wonder forever. After some time, Io finally crossed the Ionian sea to Egypt, where she was restored to human form by Zeus and gave birth to his two children, a son who is to become the king of Egypt and a daughter.

The Connection Between The Taurus Myth And The Taurus Zodiac Sign
Taurus tells a tail of an influential man pretending to be something he is not, in order to win the affection of a loved one. It is a tale of abduction, travel across the sea and the show off of a tender but strong side to a man that isn’t real. The second myth is more maleficent and it is usually manifested when planets in this sign, or in touch with this constellation, are in difficult dignity and aspects.

It signifies adultery, romantic relationships of a married man with his wife’s close friend, or even a sister. It leads to rage of the wife, who is going to do anything to hurt his husband’s lover who won’t have any peace until she crosses a great distance, moves to another country or travels across the sea. There is always a possibility of pregnancy and birth of a son out of wedlock, who is to become influential later on, as well as a woman’s marriage with a man who is not the father of her children.

Taurus, comes from the story of Europa. She was the daughter of King Agenor of Phoenicia and Telophase. Europa became the object of Zeus' affections, and he appeared to her as a beautiful, white bull at the Phoenician waterside. The princess was awestruck by the beauty of the bull and walked over to pet it. She then climbed upon his back at which Zeus jumped into the water and carried her across the sea to Crete. He took the form of an eagle there and ravished her. She eventually bore him three sons whose names were Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon.

The Constellation of Taurus
Zeus placed the image of the bull in the heavens. A group of stars called the Hyades make up Taurus' head, and another group of stars called the Pleiades make up part of the bull, as well. The Pleiades are a bright galactic cluster and the brightest seven make up their own constellation.

Taurus in Astrology
According to Astrology Taurus is an Earth sign and the traits of those born under the sign of Taurus include practicality and stubbornness.