Praesepe, also known as Messier 44 (M44) or the Beehive Cluster, is a large, bright open star cluster located in the constellation Cancer. Messier 44 lies at a distance of about 577 light years from Earth. The Beehive Cluster contains about 1,000 stars. These are mostly young stars, with an approximate age of 600 million years. The bright, massive stars are mostly concentrated in the central region and the fainter, less massive members are found in the cluster’s halo. Unlike many clusters this old, Praesepe is still huge, and still has a small amount of dust or nebulosity around it.
M44 – The Beehive Cluster
Telescope: 16″ f3.75 Dream Scope
Camera: FLI ML16803
Mount: ASA DDM85
Exposure: 5 hours (24x300s L + 3x12x300s RGB)
Date: February 2019 – reprocessed January 2022
Location: Southern Alps, France