Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mars and the Beehive, February 2010

The evening sky facing north-east in Australia on February 6 at 10:00 pm AEDST (9:00 pm AEST) showing the Mars and the Beehive Cluster (click to embiggen) .

Mars has been within a binocular field of the Beehive Cluster (M44, Praesepe) for most of this week, and will continue to be close for another week, however, between now and 7 February Mars will be closest to the Beehive.

The Beehive cluster is a beautiful , large, open cluster that is just visible to the unaided eye. Naturally it is much better under dark sky conditions. While you can see this with the uniaded eye, binoculars will give a better view. Through binoculars red Mars floats below a delicate scattering of jewels.

Mars as seen in 10x50 binoculars on February 6, near the Beehive Cluster (top).

Mars will be even closer to the Beehive in April, but not as bright.

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