Moon – Jupiter – Asteroid- Star Cluster Conjunction

   Saturday evening May 23rd the waxing crescent Moon will be close to Jupiter, two open star clusters (M-44, M-67), and an asteroid. As this graphic shows, within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars, you can see the Moon, Jupiter, and the asteroid 3 Juno. A slight shift in the viewing brings either of the two open star clusters into the binocular field of view.

   M-44, also known as the Beehive Cluster, is a group of around 1000 stars at a distance of 500-600 light years and shining with a combined magnitude of approximately 4.0. To the naked eye M-44 looks more like a nebula but resolves nicely into its component stars with optical assistance. M-67 in comparison is much dimmer at a distance of 2500-3000 light years, and with only around 100 stars this open star cluster shines with a combined 6th magnitude brightness.

   Asteroid 3 Juno was the 3rd asteroid to be discovered and is one of the largest asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. Juno has an apparent magnitude of around 7-8 so it is within the viewing capabilities of binoculars albeit as a star-like point of light.


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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