Moon Dates to be Continued

This week is really amazing for Moon lovers. Those who missed the Moon's close approach with Mars on Tuesday still can catch it on the other sky-date. On the upcoming weekend, the waxing gibbous moon will meet a large cluster of stars in the constellation of Cancer (the Crab) — M44, also known as Praesepe or the Beehive Cluster.

M44 is one of the nearest open clusters to Earth, which is known from the ancient times. The size of this bright swarm of stars is three full moon diameters. To the naked eye, the Beehive Cluster looks like a small nebulous object with the total apparent magnitude of 3.1. In fact, it contains a thousand stars and can be easily found in binoculars.

On a dark Saturday night, look at the south-western sky. At about 19:30 GMT, stargazers in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Eastern Africa will be able to catch the Moon passing right through the Beehive Cluster. After dusk, the Moon will set about a few finger widths to the upper left (east) of the cluster. For that reason, some cluster members will be occulted by the Moon. If you want to take a closer look at the clusters’ stars, try to put the Moon out of your binoculars’ field of view.

P.S.: Keep away from the city lights!

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