The Taurus constellation has been known by many ancient civilizations around the world such as the Babylonians. It is known by many names such as Il-Toro in Italian, Le Taureau in French, Taura in Persian, and Shor in Hebrew. Taurus is also part of Greek mythology and has its stories centered around a bull named Cerus. There are two main myths for Cerus the bull:
In Greek mythology, Zeus fell in love (again) with a very beautiful Phoenician princess named Europa. She was the daughter of King Agenor. Europa was protected night and day by King Agenor’s soldiers. One day, Zeus saw Europa and fell in love with her. He transformed himself into a white bull that had golden horns and he pretended to be a part of the King’s herd of cattle while she was picking flowers in her garden.
Europa saw the bull with the lovely golden horns and decided to make him her pet. One day, she decided to climb up on his back and go for a ride. They started going towards the beach, but at the last minute, the bull jumped into the sea and kidnapped Europa. He took her to the island of Crete and then the bull changed back into Zeus. Zeus and Europa later got married and had three sons. Afterward, Zeus put the bull into the sky to remember his love for Europa. The bull in the sky is known as the constellation Taurus.
Once there was a crazy, wild bull named Cerus. He destroyed everything in his path and no one could stop him. Everyone in the village was terrified of him because of his massive size and strength. None of the local farmers owned him and nobody knew where he came from. One day, as Cerus was tearing up some beautiful flowers in the meadow near the village, Persephone who was the Goddess of Spring, appeared to the bull and was able to tame him.
After that, Cerus became very docile and patient. He did not use his strength to destroy the flowers or the village. Persephone would come back and visit him every Spring and go on rides with him. As they would walk, beautiful Spring flowers would appear in their footsteps. In the Fall, it would be time for Persephone to back to Hades with her husband and Cerus would return to the sky as the Taurus constellation.
In astrology, Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, coming after Aries. It is also known as one of the oldest constellations known to man. Taurus appears in the nighttime sky between the Aries and Gemini constellations. Other astronomical facts about Taurus include:
1. The eye in the constellation of Taurus is known as Aldebaran. It is a red giant star and it is 65 light years away from the earth. Aldebaran is the 14th brightest star in the sky. It is 500 times brighter than the sun.
2. The shape of the V that forms bull’s head in the Taurus constellation is from two clusters of stars called Hyades and Pleiades. Taurus also contains stars clusters from the Crab Nebula. The Crab Nebula is the result of a supernova which is a gigantic stellar explosion. It can be seen with aid of a telescope.
3. Ancient cave paintings of a bull from over 10,000 years ago may show that stone-aged men recognized the Taurus constellation in the sky.
4. Taurus means bull in Latin and it is one of the biggest constellations in the nighttime sky.
5. Taurus can be seen in the Northern and the Southern hemispheres. In the late Spring and Summer, Taurus appears upside down in the Southern hemisphere.
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