The Buzzing Beehive of Stars

Praesepe, another name for the beehive cluster of stars is among the clusters that are near to our Solar system. The cluster is composed of a larger number of stars as compared to other clusters that are next to the solar system. The beehive cluster looks like nebulous objects when viewed with naked eyes at night. When cancer is high in the sky, it easy to observe the Beehive this mostly common in the northern latitudes at the month of February to May. The cluster can be clearly seen in a pair of binoculars or even a low power telescope.

ngc5426_gemini_bigA mass segregation has been experienced by Praesepe just like other clusters of stars. As a result of this, very bright stars have got their position in the core of the cluster and the less bright ones are located at the corona. The core of the cluster has got a radius of about 3.5 parsecs; the half-mass radius of about 3.9 parsecs; and a tidal radius of around 12 parsecs. This tidal radius counts for all the many stars that are just but passing through and not legal members of the cluster.

Not less than 1000 stars that are gravitationally bound are contained in the cluster. Recently a research revealed that the cluster may have about 1010 members, out of this the M dwarfs accounts for 68%, Stars that are sun like and belong to spectral classes of K, G, and F accounts for 30% and the rest 2% are the bright stars from the spectral class A. Five giant stars also exist in this cluster.

The evolutionary final phase of the clusters very massive stars was marked by the identification of the eleven white dwarfs that belongs to the spectral type B. The tidal stripping in this cluster accounts for the scarcity of the Brown dwarfs in the cluster. The visual brightness magnitude of the cluster is about 3.7. The blue-white stars being very bright producing a magnitude of 6 to 6.5.

Recently in the year 2012, a discovery was made in the beehive cluster of two planets. This was a very important invention since these were the first planets observed to be orbiting stars like Earth’s Sun. previously planets have been detected in various clusters such as the sun. These planets have been named as Pr0201b and Pr0211b where ‘b’ means that these bodies are planets.xcxc

Sam Quinn was the author of the announcement that described the invention of these planets. His writings were later published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Quinn was assisted by David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics thus he had a strong team.

The latest invention in the year 2016 had a conclusion that the Pr0211 was composed of two planets, whereby the second planet was branded as Pro211-c. The beehive cluster thus is one of the clusters that are well endowed with the stars as well as planets.


There are very few people who can actually acknowledge the beauty that is present in our universe. They have no idea how it feels when you gaze at stars either from a telescope or from real eyes; when you look upon the planets that you are surrounded with and their huge sizes, the galaxies that make up our universe even more beautiful, our moon and holes in them.

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