Sunday evening, May 19th, the ‘Red Planet’ Mars will be passing across the open star cluster M-35. This is a group of stars almost 4,000 light years distant located in the constellation of Gemini the Twins, near their feet. Depending on local sky conditions M-35 may be visible with the unaided, but now with Mars traversing the star cluster it also will be a great sight with binoculars, a telescope, and a camera.
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M44 could be a state highway in Michigan, part of Interstate 44 passing through my home state of Missouri, or for the purposes of this blog an open star cluster in the constellation Cancer the Crab. This evening look toward the western horizon for the brightly shining inner planet Venus which will be located within the field of view that encompasses M44, commonly known as the Beehive Cluster, and also known as Praesepe – Latin for manger.
The Beehive Cluster is a loose collection of up to around 1000 stars spread over an area of just less than 1 degree. With an apparent magnitude of around 4 M44 appears as a fuzzy spot to the naked eye. With binoculars or low power eyepiece in a telescope M44 resolves into a nice looking sprinkling of stars.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.