The Hyades

The Hyades are half-sisters of The Pleiades, as their father was also Atlas (who had a brief dalliance with Aethra). After Hyas, their brother, died, the mourning sisters were changed into a star cluster that would signify rain.

In the pursuit of accuracy, some mythographers consider Aethra to be identical with Pleione, which would mean The Hyades were fully related to The Pleiades.

For some unknown reason Messier opted not to admit the Hyades into his catalogue although the cluster had been famous even in prehistoric times.

The cluster forms most of the face of the bull; Aldebaran (not a true member of the cluster) is the animal's right eye, epsilon Tauri the left eye and gamma the snout (both are members). About two hundred stars make up the cluster.

The V-shaped asterism forming the head of the bull (alpha to gamma and gamma to epsilon) is fully seen in binoculars , with Aldebaran at the eastern edge.

The central stars in your field of vision, theta1 and theta2, are possibly a true binary (doubts exist in some quarters) with a colour contrast, white and yellow (Struve app 10), AB: 3.4, 3.9; 347, 41.2".

Note that theta2is the brighter star, hence the primary.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.