By Adam England
One of January’s premier constellations is Taurus the Bull. Most famous for its bright red giant star Aldebaran, records of the Bull go back over 5,000 years through the mythologies of Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Gracing the sky from late fall to early spring, the death of the Bull signified the spring equinox and return of the growing season to these ancient cultures. Many statues and surviving cultural artwork show the Bull in a religious capacity associated with this concept.
Chinese astronomers in 1054 recorded a bright supernova in the constellation, later viewed through a telescope in 1840 by William Parsons, whose drawing looked like a crab. The first astronomical object to be identified as relating to an historical supernova explosion, the Crab Nebula, or Messier 1 (M1), is a favorite of amateur astronomers for both visual observing and astrophotography.
Visit Prescott Astronomy Club at PrescottAstronomyClub.Org. Contact them at Contact@PrescottAstronomyClub.Org. Adam England is the director-at large and in charge of public relations for the Prescott Astronomy Club. IMAGE: Courtesy of Jeff Stillman. For more of his work and information on astrophotography visit www.stillmanimaging.com