Pictures of Messier 34

A guide to open star cluster M34 and images of the deep-sky target.

M34 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: TAK 130, iOptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD

Messier 34 is an open star cluster that can be seen from Earth in the Perseus constellation.

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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.

Messier 34 - Open Cluster in Perseus by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, HEQ5Pro Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd.
Messier 34 – Open Cluster in Perseus by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, HEQ5Pro Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd.

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.

Messier 34 & Comet 2013 X1 (Panstarrs) by Bill McSorey, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, HEQ5Pro Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera
Messier 34 and Comet 2013 X1 (Panstarrs) by Bill McSorey, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P Newtonian, HEQ5Pro Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera

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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And don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

M34 by Philip Pugh, Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Startravel 80 refractor, Konica Minolta at prime focus.
M34 by Philip Pugh, Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Startravel 80 refractor, Konica Minolta at prime focus.
M34 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Ailtair Astro RC 250 TT, iOptron CEM 60, LRGB.
M34 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Ailtair Astro RC 250 TT, iOptron CEM 60, LRGB.
M34 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: TAK 130, iOptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD
M34 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: TAK 130, iOptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD
M34 Cluster by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Tak 130 Telescope, Ioptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB
M34 Cluster by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Tak 130 Telescope, Ioptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB
M34 Cluster by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Tak 130 Telescope, Ioptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB
M34 Cluster by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Tak 130 Telescope, Ioptron CEM60 Mount, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB