Monthly Archives: April 2014

What was that cluster?

Last night around 10pm I saw a beautiful star cluster in the western sky. My guess was maybe 5 fists above the horizon, so maybe 50° up? Visible even with my bad naked eyes as a fuzzy blob, kind of off on its own in the night sky. Then in binoculars really beautiful and sparkly. Maybe M44 the Beehive Cluster, that was in about the right spot.

Random drunken astronomy is not so effective. Will try to look again tonight, spot it off Jupiter or the Cancer constellation (flanked by Hydra and Gemini). I really should know my way around the constellations better, right now I’m thrilled if I can even pick out the Little Dipper.

Edit yup, next night confirmed it was M44. Really pretty in binoculars, and I’m psyched I saw it with just my eyes and realized it was interesting. Not unique though; apparently lots of pre-telescope astronomers understood it was something unusual.

I still suck at constellations though. Couldn’t spot Cancer at all. Gemini I could only make out Castor and Pollux. And forget Hydra, well maybe I saw the head if I knew where to look. I just don’t see why these particular star configurations were the remarkable ones that people picked out and named. I feel like one of those folks with brain damage who can’t recognize faces.

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