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Community invited to view the stars at SSU

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 | Posted by


The public is invited to view the Beehive Cluster at the Sonoma State University Observatory Friday evening.

The free event runs from 9 to 11 p.m. at the observatory is located inside the stadium area at the southeast corner of the campus. Click here to view a campus map.

The Beehive Cluster, also known as M44 or Praesepe, is an open cluster in the constellation Cancer. The cluster played an important role in astronomy dating back to the astronomer Galileo who revealed Praesepe was a cluster of stars and not the interstellar gas cloud as previously believed. Proving this significant difference supported his theory there were more stars in space than could be seen by the eye.

The cluster, located about 515 light years away, contains approximately 75 visible stars extending approximately three times the diameter of the full moon.

If it appears clouds or fog may force a cancellation, call ahead at 664-2267 for more information.

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Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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