However, the focus right now is a little lower and above the eastern horizon. There you will find the constellation of Cancer the Crab. This sort of inverted Y-shaped star pattern is not only the current location for Mars and the Moon, it is also where you will find one of the best binocular or low power telescope eyepiece celestial objects. This is the open star cluster M-44, or more commonly known as the Beehive Cluster. Estimated to be about 500 light years distant the star cluster shines at a relatively bright 4th magnitude. This brings it just into the ‘seen as a fuzzy or smeared patch of light’ range.
In my suburban location with the lights of the Kansas City metropolitan area mostly toward the west and north I am able to see M-44. This of course, is after being outside for a few minutes at least allowing the eyes to dark adapt. With my 10×50 binoculars or with the telescope I keep in my truck, a 4.5 inch reflector (Edmund Astroscan), M-44 looks great.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.