The Beehive Cluster (also known as Praesepe, Messier 44 or NGC 2632) is an open cluster in the constellation Cancer.The cluster was known to Aratus by 260 BC and Charles Messier included it in his catalogue of cometlike objects despite its obvious nature as a star cluster. The Beehive Cluster lies at a distance of about 577 light years from Earth, making it one of the closest clusters after the Ursa Major Moving Cluster, the Hyades and the Pleiades. It is visible to the naked eye although it is best observed with binoculars or with a wide-field telescope at low magnification.Messier 44's age is estimated at about 730 million years.One of the brighter components of the Beehive Cluster is Epsilon Cancri, which is also known as 41 Cancri. Originally, the Bayer designation ε Cancri was applied to the entire cluster.

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