M44 (NGC 2632), aka Praesepe (manger)

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here for a medium sized image

Magnitude:  3.1
Size: About 1.6 degrees
Distance: 577 light years
RA: 08h 40m 14.6s
Dec: 19 degrees 39' 22"
Position Angle (Pinpoint):  minus 22 degrees

M44, also known as the Beehive Cluster, is a large open star cluster in Cancer.  It is seen as a cloudy patch in dark skies, and was recognized as far back as 260 BC.  However, Galileo was the first to view this object through a telescope, revealing its true nature as a star cluster.  M44 is reasonably mature as open star clusters go, being about 700 million years old and containing several red giants in addition to younger, hot blue stars.  More information about M44 may be found here.

Photographic Details:
Date:  January 3, 2009
Scope:  Takahashi FSQ106 at f5 on the Takahashi NJP Mount
Autoguider:  SBIG ST-402 with 60mm guidescope, focal length 227mm
Camera:  STL11K -20C
Baader LRGB filter set; all 50.8mm unmounted
Exposures:  R 45'; G 45'; B 60'.  Total exposure 2.5 hours
Post-processing:  Calibrated, aligned, and Sigma Clip combined in Maxim, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Further processing in Photoshop CS (16 bit format)

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