Click here for a high resolution image of M44 (410 Kb)

 

 

 

The Details
Object
M44 The Beehive Cluster or Praesepe in Cancer
Optics
Takahashi FSQ-106 at f/5
Platform
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Camera
SBIG STL-11000M
Filters
Tru-Balance LRGB filter set
Date
23 February 2009
Location
Mount Wilson Observatory, Mount Wilson CA
Exposure
L 12 x 60 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 5 ea x 60 sec 1x1 bin; unguided
Software
Maxim DL/CCD, CCDStack, Photoshop CS4
Orientation
Field of view: 01°54' x 01°24' centered on RA 08h40m06s
DEC +19°45'17". North angle 89.2 °; east 90° CCW from north
Notes
Visible to the naked eye, this object was known since prehistoric times. It was Galileo who first resolved it into a "mass of more than 40 stars" with his telescope in 1609. M44 is estimated to lie 577 light years from earth and be approximately 730 million years old. Curiously, the proper motion and age of this cluster link it with another naked eye cluster, The Hyades in the constellation Taurus. These two clusters are thought to have a common origin in a gas cloud some 800 million years ago.

 

 

 

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