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 August 25, 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 New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue» Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke, 2021 [277]
DesignationNGC 1039
TypeOCL (II3m)
Right Ascension02h 42m 05.0s
Declination+42° 45' 42"
Diameter25.00 arcmin
Visual magnitude5.2 mag
Dreyer DescriptionCl, B, vL, lC, sc st 9
IdentificationM 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 September to February.

Chart Messier 34
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


4«Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System» by Robert Burnham; Dover Publications, Inc.; Voume I: ISBN 0-486-23567-X; Volume II: ISBN 0-486-23568-8; Volume III: ISBN 0-486-23673-0
145SIMBAD astronomical database;
147Aladin Lite; (2020-12-23)
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
194NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED); (2020-12-27)
196Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; (2020-12-28)
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)