Planets Buzzin’ in the Beehive

Artwork of Planets in Beehive Cluster

NASA Astronomers have just announced that they have found planets orbiting Sun-like stars in the Beehive Cluster, (M-44). These planets are being described as a ‘hot Jupiter’ meaning that they are large like Jupiter, composedof gases, but closer to their star than the planet Mercury is to the Sun.
The Beehive Cluster is an open-star cluster within the constellation of Cancer the Crab. Both of which rise before sunrise. The Beehive Cluster is visible as a smudge of light to the naked-eye and through binoculars or a telescope using a low-power eyepiece appears as a nice sprinkling of stars. The planet Venus just recently passed close to M-44 as I had recently posted.

Be sure to visit the Plane Quest web site where you will find a lot of information about the Planet Quest project like 3,130 exo-planets have been discovered so far, although not all have been confirmed.
For the educator there are several interactives where you and students could design a planet for example.

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