See Mars buzz the dense stars of the Beehive Cluster tonight

I did enjoy some of this sky show last evening.

Observed 2000-2130 EDT. Sunset near 2026 EDT, Moon waxing gibbous in Libra, Full Moon 04-June-2023 0342 UT. I used 10x50 binoculars and my 90-mm refractor telescope. Mars passing through M44 in Cancer, Venus in Gemini. Mars and M44 angular separation about 0.5-degrees or just less than 32 arcminutes in the sky as Mars passes through M44. Both Mars and M44 fit into the FOV at 25x, 71x, and 111x. The TeleVue 14-mm Delos at 71x provided a very nice view of the pair and the TeleVue 40-mm plossl at 25x too. Mars is a bit more than 2 au distance, M44 some 577 light-years according to Stellarium 23.1. There was some high smoke passing over tonight, local NBC weather reported the smoke came from NJ 😊 Before sunset I looked at the Moon at 25x, Tycho crater with rays easy, Copernicus, other craters like Eratosthenes, Aristarchus, Archimedes. No filter needed when looking at the Moon before sunset and shortly after. Venus at 25x to 111x, distinct half-moon shape, about 51% illuminated and nearly 23 arcsecond angular size so easy to see at 25x to 111x observations. Mars and M44 became visible 2100 EDT using my telescope, spotted with binoculars first. Mars’ planetary shape visible at 71x and 111x (but small and no features). There were several bats flying around. Later in the evening June fireflies appeared in the fields and woods. Clear skies except for high smoke from NJ apparently, temperature 19C.
 
Mar 7, 2023
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If Mars is moving through this cluster, this suddenly throws a serious wrench into our colonization plans for the red planet. 600 ly away is nothing to sneeze at.:p
 
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If Mars is moving through this cluster, this suddenly throws a serious wrench into our colonization plans for the red planet. 600 ly away is nothing to sneeze at.:p
"The Red Planet will be in the midst of the densely-packed stars of the Beehive Cluster, also known as Messier 44."

Yes, Mars is in the *midst* of M44 :) Most folks do not know just how far away Mars really is :)
 

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