Open Cluster Messier 34

Messier 34
Messier 34: Section of the STScI Digitized Sky Survey [147]


The discovery of M 34 can be attributed to the Italian astronomer Giovanni Hodierna in 1654. Unfortunately, the publication of his discovered and now famous nebula found little notice outside his homeland of Sicily. It so happened that it was unknown to Charles Messier when he rediscovered the star cluster on 25 August 1764. He noted: «A cluster of small stars, a little below the parallel γ Andromedae; in an ordinary telescope of three feet [focal length] the stars can be distinguished.» [4, 194]

Physical Properties

M 34 is an open star cluster according to the Trumpler classification II3m. According to distance information on Simbad, it is located at a distance of about 1600 light years and is moving in our direction at about 7 km/s. The age is estimated to be around 100 to 200 million years. The cluster will slowly dissolve over time as it migrates around the center. [145, 196]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC Version 22/9, © 2022 Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
Designation NGC 1039
Type OCL (II3m)
Right Ascension (J2000.0) 02h 42m 05.0s
Declination (J2000.0) +42° 45' 42"
Diameter 25 arcmin
Visual magnitude 5.2 mag
Metric Distance 0.499 kpc
Dreyer Description Cl, B, vL, lC, sc st 9
Identification, Remarks h 248; GC 584; M 34; OCL 382

Finder Chart

The open star cluster M 34 is located in the constellation Perseus approximately in the middle between Algol (β Persei) and Almach (γ1 Andromedae). It is visible to the naked eye on a dark night, preferably from August to March.

Finder Chart Open Cluster Messier 34
Open Cluster Messier 34 in constellation Perseus. Charts created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. Limiting magnitudes: Constellation chart ~6.5 mag, DSS2 close-ups ~20 mag. [149, 160]

Objects Within a Radius of 15°