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Aldebaran, star in the constellation Taurus α, of magnitude 1.1, spectral type K 5, 53 years distance light. It is a giant orange of spectral type K 5 II about 500 times brighter than the Sun and about forty times larger.
It is actually a double star since the primary has a faint, small companion. Aldebaran seems visually associated to the Hyades cluster but is actually much closer to us, and the association is given only by the prospect. Its name comes from the Arabic word al-الدبران Dabarān, “tracker”, in reference to the way the star seems to follow the Pleiades cluster in their motion night.
Astrologically, Aldebaran was a lucky star, leading riches, and honors. It was, together with Antares, Regulus and Fomalhaut, one of the four “royal stars” of the Persians from 3000 BC. Looks like a star in orange and is among the easiest to spot in the night sky, and for its great brightness to the association with one of the best-known asterisms of the sky: Orion‘s Belt; if you draw a line through the three stars that form the belt from left to right (in the northern hemisphere) or from right to left (southern hemisphere), the first bright star you come to is Aldebaran.
In the other direction, the first bright star you come to is Sirius instead.
Aldebaran also appears as the brightest of the Hyades open cluster with its stars arranged in the shape of V marks the head of Taurus. It is however only apparent because of an association Aldebaran is on the line of sight between the Earth and the Hyades, which are in reality to a distance twice that of which is located Aldebaran.
A little more than ten degrees northwest of Aldebaran and the Hyades is possible to observe another of the best known open clusters in the sky: the Pleiades. Prolonging also the branch of the figure formed by the V-shaped Hyades which is Aldebaran meets ζ Tauri about 15 °, while extending the other branch is encountered, at about the same distance, the bright Elnath, bordering the constellation Auriga. These two stars mark the horns of Taurus.
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