The Praesepe, M44, Cancer

At ~600 ly away, it is one of the nearest open clusters to Earth and is visible to the naked eye as a small milky patch of light under dark skies. It was also known as "The Beehive" to the ancients and is estimated to contain about 1000 stars, including stars in the later stages of evolution, such as three red giants (visible in the image) and a number of white dwarfs. Best estimates of age suggest a figure of about 600 My, which places significant constraints on the masses of the progenitor stars which have fully evolved to become white dwarfs. 


Camera: SBIG STL11000M, Astrodon filters Scope: Takahashi TOA-130 + reducer, f=730mm, f5.6 (fov 2.8 x 2.1)
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma2 Guiding: external, E-finder
Filters/Exposures: R:G:B = 7.5:8.25:7.5 min = 23.25m Location: ASV's LMDSS, Lady's Pass, Victoria, Australia
Dates: April 2016 Processing: CCDStack2, RegiStar and Photoshop CS5