Messier 44, Beehive Cluster

Messier 44. Image Credit: Lorand Fenyes
Messier 44: Messier 44, also referred to as the Beehive Cluster, is one of the brightest and nearest open clusters. This cluster contains around 1,000 stars and lies at 577 light years away from us. Although more compact, the Beehive cluster likely has a similar beginning to the Hyades star cluster in Taurus the Bull. The larger, brighter stars in M44 reside nearer to its center while the smaller, dimmer stars are found on the outskirts. To the naked eye, the cluster appears as a blur at magnitude 3.7 in the center of its home constellation Cancer. With a small, low power telescope or binoculars, many of the stars in the cluster can be seen. With a large telescope up to 200 stars can be seen. To find M44, first find the Bright Stars Pollux and Castor in Gemini. Then scan a few degrees Northeast and you’ll find the cluster. In light polluted skies you will need a finderscope or binoculars to find the cluster but no matter where you are, this cluster is amazing!

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