Messier 44, the Beehive Cluster   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Open Cluster in Cancer

Messier 44 is known both as the Beehive Cluster and as Praesepe (the manger). At a distance of just over 500 light years, it is one of the closest star clusters. It is visible to the naked eye as a misty patch, and under ideal viewing conditions some of its individual stars can be seen. The best view of this cluster is probably with binoculars, which will show many of the cluster's 200 stars. Observing the Beehive through a large telescope is not especially satisfying, because only a portion of the cluster can be seen at one time, and the stars appear widely scattered. The cluster occupies an area of sky about three times the diameter of the full Moon.

Magnitude 3.1
Apparent Size 95'
Distance (light yrs) 515
Right Ascension 08:40.1
Declination +19 59

Image details:  12 images, each 300 seconds at ISO 1600, taken with a Canon 400D camera and a Tokina 500-mm lens. 

March 2010