Moon Gets Pinched!

m44-50mm   Early Friday morning October 17th the waning crescent Moon will be in the claws of Cancer the Crab, at least figurtively. Nearby, about 7o, is the open star cluster, M-44, or as it sometimes is called, the Beehive Cluster. This small compact star cluster contains several hundred stars packed into an apparent size of about 1.2o, and shining at 4th magnitude. Visible to the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light it resolves nicely with lower power wide-field eyepieces. This graphic simulates the view through an 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 50 mm eyepiece.

Click on animated graphic to see it full size. (1920x971)

Click on animated graphic to see it full size. (1920×971)

   Looking down toward the horizon from the Moon is the planet Jupiter and further toward the horizon is the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. This region of the sky is interesting in that the winter constellations are off to the west while the stars of spring are just rising – yet it is the fall season (at least in the northern hemisphere). The result of Earth revolution and the shifting of stars and constellations westward giving rise (in the east of course) to seasonal stars and constellations.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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