Friday morning October 13th, in the hours before sunrise, look toward the eastern horizon for the 23-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 15o east, to the left from the star Procyon (0.37 apparent magnitude). The Moon will also be to the west, right, about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, the Beehive Cluster, and about 6o from Dwarf Planet Ceres.
Tuesday morning August 1st the inner planet Venus will pass within 3o from the open star cluster, M-35. Also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’ this is an open star cluster located near the feet of the Gemini Twins. M-35 consists of several hundred stars and is approximately 2800 light years from our solar system. The star cluster has an apparent magnitude of around 5.5 making it naked-eye visible and certainly a binocular-worthy object.
Through binoculars it is easy to see M-35 as well as a 3rd and a 2nd magnitude star within a couple of degrees. However the ‘ruler’ of the binocular field of view is Venus with a -4.0 magnitude.
Monday evening May 29th the 5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within 3-4o from the open star cluster M-44, or as it probably more known as the “Beehive Cluster”, or from Latin, Praesepe, meaning “manger”.
Both of which fit easily within the field of view of binoculars.
This open star cluster, as a group, has a 3rd-4th apparent magnitude and to the naked eye appears as a fuzzy patch of light in Cancer the Crab. M-44 is near the 4th magnitude star Asellus Australis, the star that marks the splitting point for the Y-shaped star pattern.
Very early Sunday morning October 23rd the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be a few degrees from the open star cluster M-44, or commonly known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This should make for an interesting sight with binoculars despite the reflected light from the Moon.
If you are not a late night observer but like me an early morning observer then the Moon will still be close to M-44 before sunrise. However at that time look south-southeast and high above the horizon. To the right is Procyon in Canis Minor and above the Moon are the ‘Twins’ Pollux and Castor.
Monday morning September 26th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be within about 5o from the open star cluster M-44, also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This is a collection of several hundred stars with a combined apparent magnitude of around 4 making it bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye.
Even in moderately light polluted skies M-44 can be seen, and seen even better when viewed with binoculars.
Wednesday June 8th the 4-day old waxing crescent Moon will almost be within the pincer grasp of Cancer the Crab. The Moon will also be 5-6o from the open star cluster M-44, the Beehive Cluster. This is an open star cluster containing several hundred stars located within the constellation of Cancer the Crab. M-44 is approximately 500 light years away, has a collective apparent size about twice the diameter of the full Moon and glows at around 4th magnitude. The Beehive Cluster is easily seen with the naked-eye even in some light polluted metropolitan areas. It is even better when seen with binoculars or a wide-field eyepiece and telescope. So despite the light from the crescent Moon M-44 should still visible with binoculars, as this graphic shows.
Both are over the western horizon after sunset local time.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.