Messier 44 - NGC 2632

No dss image available for Messier 44
Aladin viewer for the region around Messier 44
Beehive Cluster, Praesepe, Præsepe
Hevelius 291, Bode 20, h 517, GC 1681, Melotte 88, Mel 88, Collinder 189, Cr 189, Lund 468, C 0837+201, OCl 507.0

Type  Open Cluster
Magnitude  3.1
Size  95'
Right Ascension  8h 40'  (2000)
Declination  19° 40' N
Constellation  Cancer
Classification  II 2 m
Observing Notes

Andrew Cooper
Apr 18, 2022    Waikoloa, HI (map)
15cm f/4 Newtonian, Makaʻiki Mk2 @ 27x
Seeing: 7 Transparency: 6.5 Moon: 0%

Simply beautiful! an excellent object for the RFT as it fills the field with room to spare at 27x, very large, very bright, over a degree across, coarse, fully resolved, easily visible to the unaided eye, stars 6th magnitude and down to the limit in a rich starfield

Andrew Cooper
Mar 24, 2020    Waikoloa, HI (map)
20cm f/6 Newtonian, Cave Astrola @ 61x
Seeing: 6 Transparency: 7 Moon: 0%

An eyepiece field filled with bright stars from edge to edge, bright!! sparse, resolved, a hundred or so 6-7 magnitude stars highlight the are atop a dusting of fainter stars, the cluster includes a few brighter stars including εCnc, 38Cnc, 39Cnc, and 40Cnc, a number of pretty pairs and trios aid in navigating the cluster forming recognizable patterns and allowing identification of specific stars

Andrew Cooper
Mar 1, 2011    Hale Pohaku, HI (map)
46cm f/4.5 Newtonian, Deep Violet @ 175x
Seeing: 6 Transparency: 6 Moon: 0%

Big! Bright!! visible to the unaided eye, fills the 1° field of the 35mm, stars arranged in pairs and trios spread evenly across the region, Webb notes that Galileo counted 36 stars, just a few more than that with the 18" and Mauna Kea skies!

Andrew Cooper
Nov 15, 1998    Sycamore House, Tucson, AZ (map)
20cm f/10 SCT

Easily visible with the naked eye, fills the field of the 35mm Panoptic

Rev. T.W. Webb
May 19, 1885    Hardwick, Herefordshire, England (map)

The Præsepe of the ancients, just resolved by the naked eye; too large for usual fields, but full of fine combinations. Two triangles will be noted; Galileo counted 36 stars in it, with his newly constructed telescope.
― Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, T. W. Webb, 1917

Captain William Henry Smyth
Mar 11, 1834    No. 6 The Crescent, Bedford, England (map)
150mm f/17.6 refractor by Tully 1827

A very wide double star in the well known cluster called Præsepe, on the Crab's body, enrolled by Messier on his celebrated List of 103, in 1769. A 6½, and B 7½, both white, being the sf extreme of a wavy line represented by nine small stars.

The Præsepe, metaphorically rendered Bee-hive, is an aggregation of small stars which has long borne the name of a nebula, its components not being separately distinguishable by the naked eye; indeed, before the invention of the telescope, it was the only recognised one, for though that in Andromeda must have been seen, it attracted but little notice till the days of Simon Marius, in 1612. Whereas the Præsepe in Cancer engaged very early speculation; insomuch that both Aratus and Theophrastus tell us, that its dimness and disappearance during the progressive condensation of the atmosphere, were regarded as the first sign of approaching rain. The group is rather scanty in numbers, but splendid from the comparative magnitude of its constituents, which renders it a capital object for trying the light of a telescope. Yet Galileo discovered this cluster to consist of 36 small stars, when it was supposed that there were only three nebulous stars, which emitted the peculiar light. The Præsepe was called by the Arabians al-ma'laf, a stall or den; and also al-nathrah, the fissure between the Lion's whiskers,—a district which formed the VIIIth Lunar Mansion. See ε Cancri.

An occult line projected from Spica under Regulus, and about 22° beyond the latter, runs through the Præsepe; or it may be found by a ray from the Pleiades being brought mid-way between Procyon and Castor, which will pass over ε, on Castor's knee. A line from Castor through Pollux, and continued about three times the distance between them, also reaches this remarkable cluster.
― A Cycle of Celestial Objects Vol II, The Bedford Catalogue, William Henry Smyth, 1844

John Herschel
Mar 14, 1831    

Praesepe Cancri is so very loose and straggling that it would only be noticed as a region rich in large stars

Charles Messier
Mar 4, 1769    

Cluster of stars known by the name of the nebula in Cancer. The position given is that of the star C.
― Connaissance des Temps, 1781
Other Data Sources for Messier 44
Associated objects for Messier 44
Nearby objects for Messier 44

Drawings, descriptions, and CCD photos are copyright Andrew Cooper unless otherwise noted, no usage without permission.

A complete list of credits and sources can be found on the about page

Messier 44