Naked Eye Astronomy — the Beehive Cluster

M44 from

The Beehive Cluster (M44) is located in the constellation Cancer and can be seen with the naked eye on clear, dark nights.  It is also known as Praesepe, which is Latin for “manger.”  It won’t look like the above picture with the naked eye — it will more closely resemble a faint white patch.  Incidentally, if you look at M44 tonight, just to its left is a bright object, brighter than anything in the area — the planet Jupiter making its way along the ecliptic.

Below is a star-hopping guide to finding M44 starting with the very bright star Sirius down and to the left of Orion (Castor and Pollux are the Gemini twins):