Pictures of Messier 34
A guide to open star cluster M34 and images of the deep-sky target.
Messier 34 is an open star cluster that can be seen from Earth in the Perseus constellation.
M34 - also known as NGC 1039 - is located 1,500 lightyears away and, because it is a bright object that's relatively close to our Solar System, can quite easily be seen through a pair of binoculars.
Open star cluster M34 contains about 100 stars and, to get a really beautiful view of it, use a telescope to observe it during the winter months. It can, however, also be seen with the naked eye under really good conditions.
Like most open star clusters, Messier 34 is young in astronomical terms (as opposed to the incredibly ancient globular clusters). It's thought to be about 250 million years old.
Its designation as M34 signifies it as be a member of the Messier Catalogue compiled by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in the 18th century.
M34 is a stunning star cluster and well worth a close look.
Below is a selection of images of Messier 34 captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.
For info on imaging the night sky, read our guide to astrophotography or discover our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.
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