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 Constellation Guide TAURUS

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Posts : 116
Join date : 2011-08-23

PostSubject: Constellation Guide TAURUS   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:36 pm

Taurus - The Bull

Pronounced "Tor - Rus"

Where to find the constellation

Constellation Chart

Large and quite prominent Zodiac constellation which has good targets for naked-eye, binocular, and telescope observers.

Two Messier objects, including one of the best, M45 - Open clusters of all sizes, one of the easiest supernova remnants to spot in an amateur scope (M1), and one of the brightest stars in the entire sky, the red giant Aldebaran.

Also one of the constellations that is most heavily steeped in folklore from all over the world - In Greek mythology for example, Taurus is the Bull-form that Zeus took on, in order to win over the beautiful Princess Europa.

M45 - The Pleiades

Other common names are the 'Seven Sisters' - from Greek legend - the daughters of Atlas and Pleione - note how 9 of them are named - Atlas, Pleione, and seven others.

Subaru (Japanese - Yes the car company is named after them - and the stars on the company logo are supposed to represent m45)

The Maia nebula (although, technically speaking, the Maia nebula is onlypart of the cluster - specifically, the nebulosity surrounding one of the individual stars)

To the Vikings, they represented hens, belonging to Freyja, the Norse goddess of fertility.

Large, very prominent open cluster - very easy naked-eye object - beautiful in binoculars - and too big to fit in the FOV of all but the widest field telescopes.

M1 - The Crab Nebula

Supernova remnant about 6,300 light years away - exploded on the 4th July 1054 (noted by Chinese and Arab astronomers) and was visible by naked eye, in broad daylight for weeks.

The nebula we see today, is the expanding cloud of gas caused by that explosion - modern space telescopes have discovered a pulsar rotating 30 times a second (the remains of the original star) deep within the heart of the nebula

First on Charles Messier's list, and is reckoned to have been noticeably smaller, but roughly twice as bright as it is now, when Messier discovered it.

However - that image was made with a long-exposure camera.

Through the eyepiece, this is a more realistic idea of what you will see- you won't see the red filaments at the eyepiece, the smudgy cloud that you do see, is the green-ish patch in the middle of the colour photo.

How to find the Crab Nebula

I find it quite easy to star-hop to M1.

Starting from Zeta Tauri, trace an imaginary line, past a dim triangle of stars (magnitudes around 7.5 to 8.5) - through the gap between two slighly brighter stars - and on to the nebula.

Remember to allow for the way your scope flips the view - it's easy to work this out by noting which one of the latter two stars is the brighter - they are about mag 6.5 and 8.5

The Hyades

A very widespread open cluster (because it is so close - by galactic standards) - 'only' about 150 light-years away.

The prominent central region (the brightish naked-eye stars around the V shape) is about 10 light-years across - however the whole cluster is thought to span a total of about 75 light-years.

Another interesting point about the Hyades is that this cluster is thought to have been formed from the same gas/dust cloud as m44 (the
Beehive cluster)


Large red giant star - about 53 million km across - 38 times the Sun's diameter - the 'eye' of Taurus the Bull.

Appears to be part of the Hyades, but that is only a line-of sight effect, Aldebaran is about 65 light-years away - less than half the distance of the Hyades cluster.

NGCs 1647 and 1746 are two quite large, but widespread (and therefore often difficult to pick out) open clusters - both about 6th magnitude.

NGCs 1807 and 1817 are two quite small - and close together - open clusters - both about 7th magnitude, but because they are smaller they can be easier to pick out than the previous two.

The brightest double-star in Taurus is probably the 'Asterope' pairing in M45 (see m45 image)

Both are hot blue/white stars (like most of the Pleiades that we can see) with magnitudes of 5.7 and 6.4, and a separation of 2.5 arcminutes,they are 5 times as far apart as Albireo, and as such, they are an easy split, even with modest binoculars.

Taurus NGCs (with magnitudes) - from my own "1200 Northern NGCs" list

For those with 'GoTo' or a good chart

1514 - PN - 10.8

1587 - Gal - 11.7

1589 - Gal - 11.8

1647 - OC - 6.4

1746 - OC - 6.1

1807 - OC - 7.0

1817 - OC - 7.7

1952 - SR - 8.4 (M1 - the Crab Nebula)
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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide TAURUS   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:22 pm

Nice one,you've done my star sign.
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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide TAURUS   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:23 pm

Excellent post!! I have never seen/found M1 but now I know where it is and how to find it.

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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide TAURUS   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:23 pm

Now i can finally see these! thanks!
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