Moon May Get Stung!

   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.
26sep-bino
   Even in moderately light polluted skies M-44 can be seen, and seen even better when viewed with binoculars.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon Near Beehive Cluster


   Monday morning August 29th the thin waning crescent Moon will be a few degrees away from the open star cluster known as M-44, or the Beehive Cluster.

   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.

The Moon Gets Pinched

   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.

Venus Might Get Stung!

   Thursday evening June 12th the inner planet Venus will be within less than 1o from the open star cluster M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. This is one of the closest of the open star clusters at a distance of about 500-600 light years. It contains approximately 1000 stars with a combined apparent magnitude of 3.7 meaning that it is a naked-eye visible object and certainly visible with optical aids.

   A few degrees east from the Beehive Cluster is another open star cluster, M-67. This is a collection of approximately 500 stars at a distance of between 2500-3000 light years, shining with a combined apparent magnitude of around 6. At that apparent magnitude this open star cluster could be seen with the naked-eye under dark skies and certainly with visible optical aids.

   
   
   
   

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.

Another Two for One

   Saturday evening around an hour or so after sunset local time three planets will be visible above the southwestern to western horizons. Lowest is the innermost planet Mercury. It is actually best viewed a little earlier as at the time shown in this graphic Mercury is just about to set. On the other hand Venus shining with an apparent magnitude of -4.15, and much higher above the horizon Jupiter with a -2.15 apparent magnitude would be difficult to miss. Both of these planets are each near an open star cluster. Near enough so that each of these planet/star cluster pairs will fit within the field of view of binoculars.


   Venus is within 2o from the open star cluster M-35. This is a grouping of several hundred stars located at a distance of around 2800 light years that shines with a combined apparent magnitude of between 5 and 6. This puts it right around the naked eye limit but visible with binoculars. Jupiter is within 6-7o from the open star cluster M-44, or the ‘Beehive Cluster’. This easily seen star cluster has an apparent magnitude of around 3.5 and is composed of 300 stars located at a distance of around 155 light years.

   
   
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.

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.

   
   
   
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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.

Jupiter and the Bees

aug19-bino   Tuesday morning, August 19th the two bright planets Jupiter and Venus, now separated by a little more than 1o still dominate the morning skies at sunrise. Jupiter will have moved to its closest to M-44, the Beehive Cluster as it comes within about 1o. For an interesting contrast the 4th magnitude star Asellus Australis one of the brighter stars in the constellation Cancer the Crab.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   This part of the early morning sky contains most of the northern hemisphere winter season stars as this graphic shows.
   
   
   
[centup]
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.