Photos of the moon, Mars, and the Beehive
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.
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.
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!