NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Beehive Cluster (M44, NGC 2632), also called the Praesepe Cluster, optical image. This is an open star cluster, a small group of stars that mostly formed recently from the same cloud of gas and dust. The stars are loosely bound by gravity, and will eventually drift apart. M44 is visible to the naked eye. It is 730 million years old, has some 200 stars and lies 600 light years away in the constellation Cancer. Composite of 15 images from the Burrell-Schmidt telescope, Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA.
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