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M44, Open Cluster
Messier 44
Exposure Data
  • Image Field of View: 3.03° x 2.02°
  • Camera Field of View: 3.03° x 2.02°
  • Scope: 70 mm ED doublet refractor
  • Focal Length: 420 mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/6 with 1x field flattener
  • Camera: Modified Canon T2i (550D)
  • ISO: 400
  • Exposure: 1 x 600 seconds (10 minutes total)
  • Filter: None
  • SQM: 20.81

M44 is known as the Praesepe, Manger, or Beehive Cluster. It is a large, bright, open cluster in Cancer.

Subtending an apparent angle of a degree and a half and shining at magnitude 3.1, it is easily observed with the unaided eye.

M44 lies 1.75 degrees northwest of Asellus Australis (Delta Cancri). It is easily found halfway between Leo and Gemini.

The cluster contains 50 fairly bright stars, the brightest of which are magnitude 6 to 6.5. 200 out of 350 stars total have been identified as definite members of the cluster.

M44 is 577 light-years away and is estimated to be 730 million years old, the same age as the Hyades.

The Beehive has been known since ancient times. Its discovery was credited to Aratus of Soli, a Greek poet, who mentioned it in 260 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), although being as noticeable as it is, it was probably seen by early humans looking up at the night sky.

Galileo was the first to observe M44 in a telescope in 1609. He resolved it into a cluster of 40 stars.

North is to the top in the above image.

Messier 44
  • Catalogs: M44, NGC 2632, Mel 88
  • Common Name:Praesepe, Manger, Beehive
  • Object Type: Open Cluster
  • Magnitude: 3.1v
  • Size: 70'
  • Constellation: Cancer
  • Image Field Centered At:
    • RA: 08h 39m 49s
    • Dec: +19° 43' 02"

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