Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Constellation: Cancer (Cnc)  ·  Contains:  12.14  ·  171 Ophelia  ·  38 Cnc  ·  39 Cnc  ·  40 Cnc  ·  41 eps Cnc  ·  42 Cnc  ·  Beehive cluster  ·  IC 2388  ·  IC 2390  ·  M 44  ·  NGC 2624  ·  NGC 2625  ·  NGC 2632  ·  NGC 2637  ·  NGC 2643  ·  NGC 2647  ·  PGC1567383  ·  PGC1569016  ·  PGC1569579  ·  PGC1570221  ·  PGC1570245  ·  PGC1570970  ·  PGC1573686  ·  PGC1576581  ·  PGC1577011  ·  PGC1577729  ·  PGC1577773  ·  PGC1578712  ·  PGC1579120  ·  And 18 more.
Getting plate-solving status, please wait...
M44 Beehive Cluster, 


            Jerry Macon
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M44 Beehive Cluster

Getting plate-solving status, please wait...
M44 Beehive Cluster, 


            Jerry Macon
Powered byPixInsight

M44 Beehive Cluster

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Stellarvue SVR102T

Imaging cameras: Canon 6D

Mounts: Losmandy Titan

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion Short Tube 80

Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2 Mono

Software: PixInsight 1.8  ·  PHD Guiding 2  ·  Sequence Generator Pro

Filters: Hutech HEUIBII

Accessory: Gerd Neumann Flat Panel

Dates:Feb. 9, 2016

Frames:Hutech HEUIBII: 74x120" (2h 28') ISO3200 -10C

Integration: 2h 28'

Avg. Moon age: 0.96 days

Avg. Moon phase: 1.05%

RA center: 08h40m19s.350

DEC center: +19°4028.99

Pixel scale: 1.886 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 89.527 degrees

Field radius: 1.241 degrees

More info:Open 

Resolution: 3881x2724

Locations: Dark Star Observatory, Taos, New Mexico, United States


I was encouraged to post this image after reading a nice article, "Galaxies in the Beehive" in the March 2016 issue of Sky and Telescope detailing the galaxies within M44 that can be visually observed using 17" apertures and larger. A total of 9 were listed and I was wondering how many could be detected in a digital image of this target taken with a 4" aperture telescope, which has approximately 5% of the light collecting power compared to a 17". I was able to find 33, not surprising since this image represents collecting light on the 4" aperture telescope for a total of 2.5 hours, and my image has a larger field of view than the one in the article.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Beehive Cluster, also known as Praesepe (Latin for "manger", M44, NGC 2632, or Cr 189, is an open cluster in the constellation Cancer. It is one of the nearest open clusters to the Solar System, and it contains a larger star population than most other nearby clusters. Under dark skies the Beehive Cluster looks like a nebulous object to the naked eye; thus it has been known since ancient times. The classical astronomer Ptolemy called it "the nebulous mass in the breast of Cancer," and it was among the first objects that Galileo studied with his telescope.

The cluster's age and proper motion coincide with those of the Hyades open cluster, suggesting that both share a similar origin. Both clusters also contain red giants and white dwarfs, which represent later stages of stellar evolution, along with main sequence stars of spectral classes A, F, G, K, and M.

Galileo was the first to observe the Beehive in a telescope, in 1609, and was able to resolve it into 40 stars. Charles Messier added it to his famous catalog in 1769 after precisely measuring its position in the sky. Along with the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades cluster, Messier's inclusion of the Beehive has been noted as curious, as most of Messier's objects were much fainter and more easily confused with comets. One possibility is that Messier simply wanted to have a larger catalog than his scientific rival Lacaille, whose 1755 catalog contained 42 objects, and so he added some bright, well-known objects to boost his list.

Ancient Greeks and Romans saw this object as a manger from which two donkeys, the adjacent stars Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis, are eating; these are the donkeys that Dionysos and Silenus rode into battle against the Titans.

Hipparchus (c.130 BC) refers to the cluster as Nephelion ("Little Cloud" in his star catalog. Claudius Ptolemy's Almagest includes the Beehive Cluster as one of seven "nebulae" (four of which are real), describing it as "The Nebulous Mass in the Breast (of Cancer)". Aratus (c.260-270 BC) calls the cluster Achlus or "Little Mist" in his poem Phainomaina.

This perceived nebulous object is in the Ghost (Gui Xiu), the 23rd lunar mansion of ancient Chinese astrology. Ancient Chinese skywatchers saw this as a ghost or demon riding in a carriage and likened its appearance to a "cloud of pollen blown from willow catkins." It was also known by the somewhat less romantic name of Jishi qi (also transliterated Tseih She Ke), the "Exhalation of Piled-up Corpses". It is also known simply as Jishi, "cumulative corpses."



Sky plot

Sky plot


M44 Beehive Cluster, 


            Jerry Macon