One Thousand Stars Swarm to the Beehive Cluster

Count Mars and Venus in as momentary members of the swarm. The Beehive Cluster – known in ancient times as Praesepe (the manger in Latin) – is a huge cluster of stars in the Constellation Cancer – and for a few brief time slots in June, both Mars and Venus will pass through the swarm on their endless planetary journeys.

beehive cluster

Where to See This Rare Event

Under very dark skies, such as the astronomy park at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort, the Beehive Cluster looks like a faint, blurry object in the center of Cancer. You can see it with the naked eye, just as classical astronomer Ptolemy did back in the second century CE. Or stake out a quiet place in the desert and bring your binoculars to see it clearly. Sometimes referred to as the M44 nebula, the Beehive Cluster contains red giants, white dwarfs, and at least two planets that orbit their own sun.

How to Find the Beehive Cluster

First, look for Regulus and the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux, because they’re your guide stars to the M44 nebula. The cluster is about halfway between Regulus and the Castor-and-Pollux pair.

When to See Your Favorite Stars Pass through the Cluster

The Beehive Cluster is about 500 light years away from Earth. Mars visited the Cluster in 2011 and Venus passed through it in 2013. So, it’s going to be a while before you get another chance. Bring your binoculars and a bottle of wine. It’s nice and cool in the desert at night. Just right for stargazing.

  • June 1 – 2: Mars in the Beehive
  • June 12 – 13: Venus in the Beehive
See It from the First International Dark Sky Location in California

Reserve your stay at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course in June to see the brightest stars in the night sky, Mars and Venus, briefly inhabit the Beehive Cluster.

The Night Sky Is Magical – Enjoy It!

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