Best of AOP - Star Clusters

M44: The Beehive Cluster

M44 is a beautiful open cluster in the center of the constellation Cancer. It can be seen as a faint nebulosity with the naked eye under good viewing conditions, and is easily resolved with a small pair of binoculars or telescope. In fact, this is one object frequently better suited for binoculars compared to a telescope, due to its large angular extent. Distance estimates for this cluster vary from 500-600 lightyears away, but astronomers are fairly confident in an age of about 600 million years old.

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Last Updated: 25-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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Equipment

76mm Televue (480mm f/6.3 refractor) 

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = RGB (synthetic) binned 1x1

Red = 10 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 10 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 10 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Tom Bash and John Fox/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF