Messier 44 (M 44) - Praesepe (Beehive)
Introduction | Map | My
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 roughly at the intersection of lines emanating from Castor
/ Pollux and from Procyon. It was relatively faint in my binoculars (Trinovid)
- almost like a nebula, but small star dots were recognizable.
Since 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 (Feb
13, 2017). More on this further below.
In the meantime, I have observed Praesepe (M 44) often, have seen it beautifully
and, under good sky conditions, was even able to see it with my eyes.
Size: 70' (Stoyan)
Distance: 610 light years
M 44 (Praesepe) in constellation Cancer/Crab
Position of M 44 (Praesepe) in constellation Cancer/Crab relative
to Castor and Pollux in Gemini/Twins
My Own Observations
Observations February/March 2017
- February 14, 2017 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: LT
binoculars): Found M 44 (Praesepe) from our balcony using binoculars.
It is located roughly at the intersection of lines emanating from Castor
/ Pollux and from Procyon, and was relatively faint in my binoculars -
almost like a nebula, but small star dots were recognizable.
- February 15, 2017: (ditto: Heritage
100P on GoTo mount): Used
my GoTo mount and the 100P on our terrace and just set the control to 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.
- March 2, 2017: (ditto: Heritage P130 on GoTo mount):
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...
- March 16, 2017: (ditto): Ditto
Observations End of March 2017
- 27.3.2017 (Erkerode: Heritage
saw M 44 even with the naked eye, nice at lower magnifications
- 29.3.2017 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: Heritage
P130 on GoTo mount):
44, nice again at lower magnifications
Observations May 2017
Observations March 2018
- March 20, 2018 (Erkerode: TS binoculars): M
- March 24, 2018 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: Explorer
150PDS on GoTo mount, StarSense): M
44 seen beautifully
Observations May 2018
- May 6, 2018 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: TS binoculars): M
44 seen beautifully
Observations February 2019 ff
- February 27, 2019 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: PS
72/432 on AZ
Pronto Mount, TS binoculars):
Praesepe M 44 large, beautiful fine stars; also seen in TS binoculars.
- April 28, 2019 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: PS
72/432 on GoTo mount): Praesepe
M 44 was large and fine with 10 mm (nice star points! should
already fit) and other focal lengths (up to 35 mm).
- May 1, 2019 (Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: Explorer
150PDS on GoTo mount): Praesepe
M 44 was large and fine.
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