Fixed star:  ATLAS
Constellation: 27 Taurus
Longitude 1900:  28TAU58 Longitude 2000:  00GEM21
Declination 1900:  +23.45' Declination 2000:  +24.03'
Right ascension:  03h 49m Latitude:  +03.55'
Spectral class:  B9 Magnitude: 3.8

The history of the star: Atlas

Fl. 27 Taurus, or f, Atlas, is a double star, 4.5, intense white, and one of the Pleiades, a group of stars on the shoulder of the Bull.

See Alcyone, the chief star in the Pleiades, for astrological interpretations.

Atlas holding up the Farnese Globe of constellationsLegend: Atlas was the father of the Hyades and Pleiades (see Alcyone) who was condemned to support the weight of the heavens on his head and hands. Other names for Atlas were: "The Endurer", "Titan bearing up the Heavens". In the human body, the atlas is the top or first cervical vertebra of the neck which supports the skull. Atlas (a star in Taurus) was believed by some mythologists to be the originator of the constellations (others say it was Chiron identified with Centaurus who invented them).

Mythologically speaking, Atlas and Pleione are not Pleiades, but rather the parents of the Seven Sisters. Atlas precessed to 0GEM00 in 1974.


from p.408 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.

Atlas was Pater Atlas with the Italian astronomer Riccioli (1598-1671), apparently having been added in his day to the original group of the seven daughters. It was of him that Ovid (43 B.C.-18?A.D.) wrote:

"Pleiades incipiunt umeros relevare paternos;"

for their setting relieved the father of some of his burden as bearer of the heavens.

With Pleione it marks the end of the handle of the Pleiad Dipper, and probably has a very minute, close companion, said to have been discovered by Struve in 1827, and again revealed, at an occultation by the moon, on the 6th of January, 1876.