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Beehive cluster

noun, Astronomy
1.

Praesepe

[pri-see-pee, prahy-suh-pee] /prɪˈsi pi, ˈpraɪ səˌpi/
noun, Astronomy
1.
an open star cluster in the center of the constellation Cancer, visible to the naked eye.
Also called Beehive cluster, Manger.
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < Latin praesēpe crib from which cattle or horses are fed, manger; the neighboring brighter stars Gamma and Delta Cancri (Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis) were pictured as asses which fed from a manger
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for beehive-cluster

Praesepe

/praɪˈsiːpɪ/
noun
1.
an open cluster of several hundred stars in the constellation Cancer, visible to the naked eye as a hazy patch of light
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beehive-cluster

Praesepe

n.

loose ("open") star cluster (M44) in Cancer, from Latin praesaepe the Roman name for the grouping, literally "enclosure, stall, manger, hive," from prae- (see pre-) + saepire "to fence" (see septum).

It is similar to the Hyades but more distant, about 600 light-years away, consists of about 1,000 stars, mostly older, the brightest of them around magnitude 6.5, thus not discernable to the naked eye even on the clearest nights, but their collective light makes a visible fuzz of glow that the ancients likened to a cloud (the original nebula); Galileo was the first to resolve it into stars (1609). The modern name for it in U.S. and Britain, Beehive, seems no older than 1840. Greek names included Nephelion "Little Cloud" and Akhlys "Little Mist." "In astrology, like all clusters, it threatened mischief and blindness" [Allen].

"Manger" to the Romans perhaps by influence of two nearby stars, Gamma and Delta Cancri, dim and unspectacular but both for some reason figuring largely in ancient astrology and weather forecasting, and known as "the Asses" (Latin Aselli), supposedly those of Silenus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
16
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