Astro photography

Saturn, Mars, M44

Saturn, Mars, M44, June 17, 2006. The two bright objects in the sky are Saturn and Mars, and on this evening they appeared unusually close together in the sky, about half a degree apart. They were lovely together in the dusky sky, made even nicer by their closeness to the open star cluster M44; the speckle of stars to the right of the planets.

Since the invention of the telescope this star cluster has also been called The Beehive, because of its swarm of stars. In ancient days it was called The Manger. The two stars on either side of Saturn and Mars are called the South and North Donkeys — they have come to feed at the manger. This photograph was featured on the SkyNews website.

Here is a closer view of The Beehive, taken a year later.

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Steve Irvine
R.R. # 2
Wiarton, Ontario
Canada N0H 2T0
(519) 534 2175