Today's Image

Photos of the moon, Mars, and the Beehive

Crescent moon with earthshine near star cluster.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mohd Nazam Anuar in Johor Baharu, Malaysia captured this photo of the moon and the Beehive star cluster on June 14, 2021. Thanks, Mohd!

On June 13 and 14, 2021, the young moon and the famous Beehive star cluster paired up in the west after sunset. And some EarthSky friends captured them!

The photo above is from June 14, when the waxing crescent moon appeared larger in the night sky and was up longer after sunset. On that evening, the moon appeared to have leapfrogged over the Beehive to land on the other side. It had left the constellation Cancer, to appear in front of Leo.

The photo below is from June 13, when the 3-day-old crescent moon was above the red planet Mars, now appearing exceedingly faint, especially in contrast to its brightness half a year ago. Meanwhile, the Beehive cluster – in the constellation Cancer the Crab – floated out to the side.

Moon top right, Mars bottom right, Beehive cluster top left.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Steven Sweet in Port Credit, Mississauga, Ontario, captured this photo of the red planet Mars, the moon, and the Beehive star cluster on June 13, 2021. Thanks, Steven!

The Beehive, an open cluster

The Beehive is what’s called an “open” star cluster. Its stars are siblings of sorts, born from a single cloud of gas and dust in space and still moving together as a family. Our sun was born from a similar cloud, and once had siblings of its own.

By the way, will you see the moon and Beehive together again next month? No. This famous star cluster – which is visible to the eye in a dark-enough sky – is now diving into the sunset glare as Earth travels in orbit around the sun. It’ll emerge into the eastern sky before sunup – as seen from our northerly latitudes – around late August or September.

A red dot is labeled Mars in the center of this image, surrounded by tiny white stars on a pale blue background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mohd Nazam Anuar from Johor Bahru, Malaysia also captured this Beehive composite with Mars on June 23, 2021. Mohd wrote: “It’s the rare and beautiful conjunction of our neighbor the red planet Mars along with the Space Bees of Beehive Star Cluster tonight! Isn’t that amazing?” You could say that again! Thank you for your terrific submissions, Mohd.
A dark blue sky is freckled with small white dots and a single bright, large dot near the center.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | EarthSky thanks Hazarry Hj Ali Ahmad in Kampong Keriam, Tutong, Brunei Darussalam for sharing this awesome Mars-Beehive image. Hazarry says: “Red shining Mars is surrounded by the Beehive star cluster (M44) from Brunei today, June 23, 2021. The gatherings of stars resemble a swarm of buzzing bees, hence the nicknamed Beehive. Photo was taken just before the astronomical twilight.”
Small white dots are scattered in a pale blue sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Buzz … buzz … Do you hear that? It’s the Beehive cluster alongside Mars, taken in this shot by Fadzil Goh in Ulu Tiram, Johor, Malaysia on June 23, 2021. Beautiful shot, Fadzil!

Bottom line: Photographers on opposite sides of Earth captured images of the moon and the Beehive cluster as they paired up in mid-June 2021. If you’ve got a great photo of the Earth or sky, share it at EarthSky Community Photos!


June 16, 2021
Today's Image

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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