Study of the Beehive cluster at the heart of Cancer.



The heart of Cancer – Praesepe/Beehive Cluster/M44. Also known as the Manger and, interestingly, a chariot from the underworld. Until a couple hundred years ago, this cluster (one of the closest to Earth) went from what was believed to be a nebulous cloud to an amazing cluster once the telescopes were in wide use. 



Zoomed in even further, the heart of Cancer. Like I said before, at 600 light years distant and at about 600 million years of age, it’s one of the closest star clusters.



Even closer. At 600 million years old, it is an infant compared to our Sun. Yet it is very close to dying. The red giants and white dwarf population is enough to verify that. It’s distance, age and types of stars not only make this cluster very similar to another close cluster, Hyades, it also has led the scientific community to believe Praesepe/Beehive and Hyades were born from the same cloud of gas. This would make the clusters (and the stars within) siblings, even though they reside in two separate constellations (Cancer and Taurus).

The stars within are of higher mass, which means they fuse more hydrogen and such, which leads them to have much shorter lifespans (relatively speaking). 


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