α Tauri

Alpha Tauri, "Aldebaran" (The Follower or The Bright One of the Follower), since it trails the Pleiades.

Aldebaran is the Eye of the Bull, as it stares defiantly at Orion; it's found 20 northwest of Betelgeuse: binoculars.
     Or from Orion's Belt draw an imaginary line toward the northwest. Aldebaran is the first bright star you'll come across.

In the same field as Aldebaran is the Hyades star cluster; Aldebaran isn't part of the cluster, as it is much closer at 65 light years.

Placing Aldebaran on the left edge of the field of vision the stars form a pleasant group in the centre of the Hyades. Gamma is at the right edge and epsilon at the upper edge. In the middle are the two theta stars, a wide double with a colour contrast, yellow and white.

In the same field, delta 3 Tauri is a multiple system (Kui 17):
      AB: 4.3, 7.9; 341, 1.8".
      AC: 4.3, 11.1; 236, 77.0".

To the southeast of Aldebaran a little more than one degree are sigma1 and sigma2, two blue-white dwarfs which form a very wide binary with sigma2 the primary: 4.7, 5.1; 194, 444.1" (4.3'); the two stars are part of the Hyades cluster.


If you now put gamma near the centre of your viewing area, this brings in Struve 495, two yellow stars: 6.1, 8.8; 222, 3.6".

One binocular field southwest of gamma is lambda Tauri
     Click on lambda on the map for details on this interesting variable.

If you return to alpha Tauri then go north one binocular field (and very slightly west), you'll encounter kappa Tauri.
     Kappa1,2 form a wide binary: 4.2, 5.3; 174, 339.1".

One more binocular field north to chi and phi Tauri:
      phi (Sh 40, optical), yellow and blue: 5.1, 7.5; 258, 51".
      chi (Struve 528)AB: 5.4, 8.5; 24, 20.4".

Struve 572 is also in this field of view, two yellow stars, AB: 7.4, 7.2; 189, 4.2".

Also in this same field is 62 Tauri, Struve 534AB: 6.4, 8.0; 291, 29".


Now to the two horns of the bull. The horns themselves aren't really obvious; the only indication of their existence is the tip of each horn, represented by beta and zeta. The upper horn is the brighter star, beta Tauri.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.