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(IAAC) Obj: M44 (Praesepe or Beehive) - Inst: naked eye, 10x50 binocs



Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-12-16/17, 8:15 UT
Location: Whidbey Island, MA, USA (48N)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 7.2
Seeing: 2 - good
Moon up: no
Instrument: Naked eye, 10x50 Tasco binoculars
Magnification: 1x, 10x
Filters used: None
Object: M44 (Praesepe or Beehive)
Category: Open cluster
Constellation: Cnc
Data: mag 3.1  size 95'
RA/DE: 8h40m  +19o59'
Description:
The Beehive under these conditions stands out very
clearly naked eye, as an extended blur, 3 times the
size of the full moon, forming a pretty triangle with
the dim stars Delta and Gamma Cancri. (In fact, this
must have been considered a far more intriguing object
by pretelescopic sky-watchers than the tiny dots M42
or Omega Cen!) In 10x50 binoculars, this blur explodes
into a nearly field-filling maze of stars. Some 40-45
individuals could be counted with a steady hand. Also
apparent near the cluster's center was a striking 30'
asterism very much like a miniature Corvus, the Crow.
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Karen Simmons & Lew Gramer dedalus@alum.mit.edu http://www.tiac.net/users/lewkaren
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