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  • Writer's pictureLuke

Whats up this summer!

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Here's a list of what you will see on an AstroTour this summer! M44 - Beehive Cluster [in cancer] (back up open clusters: M39[Cyg], M11[Sco], M6[sco], M21[Sag], Double Cluster [Per])

M44 the "beehive" cluster

  • Open cluster

  • Can be seen as a mist, cloud, or fog with the naked eye. Kinda like a little drip of the milky way that strayed.

  • “Town of stars, just down the road” aka: Thousands of stars, hundreds of light years away (actual distance 520 to 610 ly, and about 1,000 stars).

  • like little towns of stars just down the road like Lyons, Jamestown, or Nederland. Hundreds of light years sounds far and it is a mind boggling large distance but compared to the globular clusters and galaxies (thousands and millions of light years away respectfully) we look at, it is just down the road.

  • What does it look like to you? I hear some say an arrow head, some say, bees, butterflies, etc. some just say “stars”

  • Try to count/estimate how many stars you see it should be at least ~70 so this might take a while

  • Open Clusters are like teenage stars. They were likely all fourmed closer together, in the same star forming nebula (or more simply “stellar nursery”), and are now spreading out leaving the nursery and going their own ways in our galaxy

  • Cloud of stars in our galaxy ~39 light years wide with a core that’s about 11 ly wide

  • Total mass is about 550 times that of our sun

  • Age of the cluster is about 650 million years old

  • I think of this like young or *teenage* stars. Stars get to be billions of years old, our sun is 4.6 billion years old

  • One of the first objects Galileo studied in a telescope. First called “little mist” by a greek poet in 260 BC

  • The main thing to see in the constellation Cancer

  • Seen as a manger and the two stars next to it seen as donkeys eating from the manger by the Greeks and Romans

  • In China it was seen as a ghost riding a chariot and is one of the 28 chinese zodiac signs (lunar mansions)

  • Origin of calling it the “beehive” is unknown.