Open Clusters

M44 – Praesepe – with FSQ85

M44 or “Praesepe” as it is called, is a famous open cluster visible in the late winter/ springtime in the constellation of Cancer – The Crab.  It is often nicknamed The Beehive cluster since it resembles a swarm of bees when viewed in a wide-field telescope or binoculars.  Along with M45 it is one of the most immediately breathtaking sights in the deep sky.  At about 510 light years it is one of the closer Open Cluster to the Earth and is about 12 light years across and contains about 1000 stars.  Note the tiny, distant galaxy in the bottom of the cluster PGC24400.

M44 ("Praesepe"), The Beehive Cluster

Image Technical Data

Imaged over two evenings, the 22 and 23 February 2019 from my backyard in Nottingham, UK.  Conditions were far from ideal with a high, hazy mist that made transparency poor and subsequent processing difficult.

Captured with Takahashi FSQ85 and Moravian G2-8300 CCD camera with Astrodon RGB filters.  All data binned 1×1:

Red > 14 x 120s ; Green > 16 x 120s ; Blue > 14 x 120s

Mounted on MESU 200 telescope mount and guided with OAG

M44 Annotated Version
M44 Inverted Version

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