Introduction | Map | My Own Observations | References
On this page I collect my observations of the open star cluster M 44 (Praesepe, Beehive) in the constellation Cancer / Crab.
Cancer / Crab belongs to the constellations that I do not really know. And I had not heard of the open star cluster Praesepe (M 44) before, which is also called Crib or Beehive and impressive 70' large. Praesepe is located in the east and fairly low in February and was not visible from my terrace (at least , I thought so...). That is why I did not attempt to observe it on the first day of my winter observations in 2017. More on this further below.
Size: 70' (Stoyan)
Distance: 610 light years
Praesepe (M 44) in Cancer/Crab
Position of Praesepe (M 44) in constellation Cancer/Crab relative to Castor and Pollux in Gemini/Twins
On February 14, 2017, the second day of my winter observations in 2017, I went on our balcony and found Praesepe using binoculars. It is located roughly at the intersection of lines emanating from Castor / Pollux and from Procyon, and was relatively weak in my binoculars - almost like a nebula, but small star dots were recognizable.
On the third day, February 15, 2017, I used my GoTo mount and the Heritage 100P on our terrace and just set the control on M 44 - and lo and behold, I was able to see Praesepe through a gap. For some time it was still possible to repeat this, but later M 44 was hidden and could not be seen anymore. Unfortunately, I only remember that I was able to see single stars and did not have the foggy impression of when using binoculars. Perhaps, the the rising moon already affected this sky region.
On March 3, I caught a nice view of M 44 with my Heritage P130 on the GoTo mount. Here, I was able to see single stars, not just a fuzzy cloud...