The Starry Manger

Today is the day before the day before Christmas, or Christmas Eve Eve.  Did you know that a Manger can be found among the stars? Here it is, right in the constellation of Cancer (which is visible tonight, if you have dark skies): Astronomers call it the star cluster M-44.  Here is a discussion of The Manger, or Praesepe, from Star Lore of All Ages: A Collection of Myths, Legends, and Facts Concerning the Constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, by William Tyler Olcott, founder of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO): Cancer is celebrated chiefly because it contains the great naked eye star cluster “Praesepe,” the so-called “Manger,” from which two asses, represented by stars near by, are supposed to feed. This cluster is known in English astronomical folk-lore as “the Beehive,” a name we do not know the origin of. This marvellous aggregation of suns presents on a clear night a dim misty appearance. It has often … Continue reading →

Source: The Starry Manger


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