In the early morning of Wednesday (September 21), the moon passes through the Beehive Cluster, a group of stars also known as Messier 44 (M44) in the constellation Cancer.
waning crescent the moon You’ll be about three degrees from the Beehive Cluster, which itself is about three moons wide. (You fist at your arm’s length is about ten degrees in the sky.)
The event should be visible to the naked eye as if the moon were waning in the crescent phase (its bright side moving away from the a land), is still very bright. Also, the mass of a beehive can be seen to the naked eye with a magnitude of 3.7.
However, observing the moon as it passes through the beehive cluster using binoculars in a dark-sky setting, will reveal the mass in greater detail allowing more stars to be seen in a 1,000-strong swarm.
At a distance of about 550 light-years, the Beehive – or NGC 2632 as astronomers call it – is the closest open block to ground. It is also one of the most populous examples of these groups of stars. Open clusters consist of a few thousand stars that are believed to have formed from the same molecular cloud.
Open clusters like a beehive are very useful for astrophysicists seeking to understand stellar evolution Since all stars in such a group share the same chemical compositions, ages, and velocities. Also, groups of stars Easier to study than lone stars.
Beehive stars have a mass of about 500 to 600 times the mass of bees the sun They are loosely connected to each other by mutual attraction. The brightest star of the open cluster is concentrated in its core, which is about 23 light-years wide.
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Of the 1010 stars in the Beehive cluster, astronomers have determined that about 60 percent are red dwarfs, while approximately 30 percent of the main sequence stars are like the Sun. Astronomers have also discovered at least 11 white dwarfsin mass – stellar remnants that form when stars like the sun run out of hydrogen for nuclear fusion and shed their outer layers.
However, the beehive is not only home to stars. Planets Pr0201b and Pr0211b are exoplanets, or outer planets, found orbiting different sun-like stars in the cluster. Both exoplanets have been identified asHot Jupiters Gas giants that pass close to their host star.
The discovery of these worlds provided astronomers with the first evidence that exoplanets can orbit Sun-like stars in dense stellar environments like open clusters.
The beehive occupies an important place in astronomy. It was first observed with a telescope Galileo in 1609, which was able to determine that it contains at least 40 stars. Charles Messier added the Beehive to his catalog of stars in 1769 after accurately measuring its position in the sky.
On Wednesday morning, budding sky watchers will experience the excitement of observing a beehive live with the moon serving as an easy guide to finding this group.
If you are a sky watcher, or even just curious about sky watching, be sure not to miss our guide best binoculars and the The best telescopesTo detect the moon, a beehive block or something else in the night sky. To capture the best pictures of the moon you can check out our guide moon photography along with our recommendations for the best astrophotography camerasAnd the Best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you took a photo of the moon near the Beehive group and would like to share it with readers of Space.com, send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.