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Posts Tagged ‘Praesepe’

03/03/2022 – Ephemeris – Finding Cancer the crab

March 3, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, March 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 6:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:15. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 7:46 this evening.

The constellation of Cancer the crab is made of dim stars, which are generally connected, in constellation charts, with lines that make either the letter K or an upside down Y, which lie directly between the star pair Castor and Pollux in Gemini and Regulus in Leo. In the center of the constellation is, what to the naked-eye is a fuzzy spot called Praesepe, or the manger. The two nearby stars, one to the northeast, and one to the southeast are Asellus Borealis, and Asellus Australis, the northern and southern donkey colts feeding out of the manger. Viewing that fuzzy spot with a pair of binoculars will reveal that it’s not fuzzy at all. It resolves into a cluster of stars, which astronomers, over the years, have called the Beehive cluster. Back in the first and second century CE, the Sun entered Cancer to begin the season of summer. It’s now just a transitional constellation between the winter and spring evening skies.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer the Crab

Cancer, the crab finder chart. Note the beehive cluster, also known to amateur astronomers as M44, along with other catalog names. Prior to the invention of the telescope this cluster was known as Praesepe which means “Manger”. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Closer look at Cancer

A closer look at Cancer, noting the donkey stars Asellus Borealis and Australis feeding at the manger, Praesepe or M44, aka: the Beehive Cluster. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts) and LibreOffice for captions. Adapted from a chart I created for the March 2022 issue of the GTAS newsletter, the Stellar Sentinel.

05/17/2021 – Ephemeris – The Moon tonight

May 17, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, May 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 9:06, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:11. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 2:25 tomorrow morning.

The Moon tonight reveals a bit more territory than it did last night, and will every night until full moon. The Moon’s solar day equals a lunar month of about 29 and a half of our days. As seen in binoculars, below and left of The distinctly oval Sea of Crises, or Mare Crisium, is the Sea of Fertility, or Mare Fecunditatis. To the left of the Sea of Crises, the Sea of Tranquility (Tranquilitatis) where the Apollo 11 crew landed. Above that half of Sea of Serenity has come into daylight. Tonight the Beehive star cluster will be visible below and left of the Moon. It should be easily visible in binoculars and has a vaguely triangular shape. It was known to the ancients as Praesepe, the manger, who saw it as a glowing spot on moonless nights.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The crescent Moon and the Beehive star cluster
The crescent Moon and the Beehive star cluster, below left of center as they might be seen in binoculars tonight, May 17, 2021 at 10 pm. The Beehive is also known as Messier 44 or M 44. The star cluster is visible to the naked eye, but it stars are not resolvable, so it looks like a small glowing patch. It was known as Praesepe, the manger. The star just left of the Moon and another just left of the Beehive are Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis respectively, the North and South Donkeys. They are feeding at the manger. The donkey stars and the Beehive are in the central part of the constellation of Cancer the crab. The image was created using Stellarium.
The Moon a10 pm May 17, 2021 as seen in a low power telescope with the lunar seas labeled in English, rather than Latin. The seas are easily visible in binoculars. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

03/04/2021 – Ephemeris – A very crabby constellation

March 4, 2021 Comments off

Mar 4. This is Ephemeris for Thursday, March 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 20 minutes, setting at 6:34, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:12. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:26 tomorrow morning.

Lying between the stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini high in the southeast and the star Regulus in Leo the Lion in the east-southeast is the dimmest constellation of the zodiac, Cancer the crab. To me its 5 brightest stars make an upside down Y. There are the stars in the center of the constellation Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis, the north and south donkeys. There’s a fuzzy spot between and just west of them called Praesepe, the manger from which they are supposedly eating. In binoculars, it resolves into a cluster of stars called the Beehive star cluster. We amateur astronomers also know it as M 44, the 44th object on 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier’s list of fuzzy objects that might be mistaken for comets.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer

The constellation Cancer finder chart. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The Beehive

The Beehive star cluster, M44. Its ancient name was the Praesepe or manger when glimpsed by the naked eye. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts)

Note in the top image above the star cluster M 67 at the bottom of Cancer, near the star Acubens. M 67 requires a small telescope to spot. They are both open or galactic star clusters which lie in or very near the plane of the Milky Way, denoted by the milky band. Part of the milky band can be seen at the upper right of the chart. M 44 is quite close to us, at only 610 light years away so is physically close to the plane of the Milky Way. M67, however is 2,610 to 2,930 light years away and is quite a bit farther than M 44 from the plane of the Milky Way. It is also much older (4 billion years old) than the stars of the Beehive (600 to 700 years old).

M67 photograph

M67 is a beautiful telescopic object. Credit Nigel Sharp, Mark Hanna, AURA/NOAO/NSF.

03/13/2020 – Ephemeris – Looking for Cancer the crab

March 13, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, March 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 7:47, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:56. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:01 tomorrow morning.

Between the stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini high in the southeast and the star Regulus in Leo the Lion in the east-southeast lies the dimmest constellation of the zodiac, Cancer the crab. To me its 5 brightest stars make an upside down Y. There’s the stars in the center of the constellation Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis, the north and south donkeys. There’s a fuzzy spot between and just west of them called Praesepe, the manger from which they are supposedly eating. In binoculars it resolves into a cluster of stars called the Beehive cluster. We amateur astronomers also know it as M44, the 44th object on 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier’s list of fuzzy objects that might be mistaken for comets.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer the Crab

Cancer the crab finder chart. Note the beehive cluster, also known to amateur astronomers as M44, along with other catalog names. Prior to the invention of the telescope this cluster was known as Praesepe which means “Manger”. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The constellation Cancer with star names and Praesepe. Asellus Borealis, the Northern Donkey; and Asellus Australis, the Southern Donkey are next to Praesepe the manger. Created using Stellarium.

We only hear about a manger at Christmas time.  It is simply a trough that horses, donkeys, and cattle eat from.

03/19/2018 – Ephemeris – The dim zodiacal constellation of Cancer the crab

March 19, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, March 19th. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 7:54. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:21 this evening.

At 10 this evening, the faint constellation, and member of the Zodiac, Cancer the crab is located in the south half way between the bright stars Castor and Pollux of the constellation Gemini, high in the south and the bright star Regulus in Leo the lion in the southeast. Cancer is very dim, looking like an upside-down Y or even a K if all its stars can be made out. In the center of Cancer is a fuzzy spot to the unaided eye. In binoculars or a low power telescope this fuzzy spot becomes a cluster of stars. It is the Beehive cluster. At 577 light years away, according to the latest measurements, it is one of the closest star clusters. A week from tonight the Moon will pass below this cluster, by about 4 of its diameters.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer the Crab

Cancer the crab finder chart. Note the beehive cluster, also known to amateur astronomers as M44, along with other catalog names. Prior to the invention of the telescope this cluster was known as Praesepe which means “Manger”. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The Beehive

The Beehive star cluster, M44. Its ancient name was the Praesepe or manger when glimpsed by the naked eye. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Skycharts)

03/03/2014 – Ephemeris – The dim zodiacal constellation of Cancer the Crab

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, March 3rd.  The sun will rise at 7:16.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 6:33.   The moon, 2 days past new, will set at 9:44 this evening.

At 9 this evening, the faint constellation, and member of the Zodiac, Cancer the crab is located in the south-southeast half way between the bright stars Castor and Pollux of the constellation Gemini, high in the south and the bright star Regulus in Leo the lion in the east  Cancer is very dim, looking like an upside-down Y.  In the center of Cancer is a fuzzy spot to the unaided eye.  In binoculars or a low power telescope this fuzzy spot becomes a cluster of stars.  It is the Beehive cluster.  At 525 light years away, it is one of the closest star clusters, but more distant than the Pleiades and Hyades the face of Taurus the bull.  Back a few thousand years ago Cancer was the farthest north of the constellations, Gemini has that honor today.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer

The constellation Cancer the crab at 9 p.m. March 3, 2014. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Skycharts).

The Beehive

The Beehive star cluster, M44. Its ancient name was the Praesepe or manger when glimpsed by the naked eye. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Skycharts)

03/07/2013 – Ephemeris – The zodiacal constellation Cancer the crab

March 7, 2013 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 7th.  The sun will rise at 7:08.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 6:38.   The moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:57 tomorrow morning.

At 9 this evening, the faint constellation, and member of the Zodiac, Cancer the crab is located in the south half way between the bright stars Castor and Pollux of the constellation Gemini, high in the south and the bright star Regulus in Leo the lion in the southeast.  Cancer is very dim, looking like an upside-down Y.  In the center of Cancer is a fuzzy spot to the unaided eye.  In binoculars or a low power telescope this fuzzy spot becomes a cluster of stars.  It is the Beehive cluster also cataloged as M44.  At 577 light years away, according to the latest measurements, it is one of the closest star clusters, but more distant than the Pleiades and Hyades the face of Taurus the bull.  Before it was seen in a telescope the cluster was known as Praesepe, the manger.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cancer Finder Chart

Cancer Finder Chart. Created using Stellarium.