Messier 34 or M34 (also designated NGC 1039) is an open cluster in the constellation Perseus. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 5.5 and its angular diameter is 35 arc-minutes. M34 lies at an estimated distance of 1400 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 2h 42m, Dec= +42° 47´ which makes M34 best seen during the autumn. The Messier Autumn Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.
The image above shows the uncropped view of M34 through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is to right). A 2x enlargement of this image appears to the right.
This open cluster was discovered by Messier in 1764. According to Kharchenko et al. (2005), the distance of M34 is 1630 light years and its diameter is 17 light years. It contains 94 stars and its estimated age is 225 million years.
Messier's Description of M34
August 25, 1764
`Cluster of small stars, between the head of Medusa (Algol) and the left foot of Andromeda, a little below the parallel of Gamma [Andromedae]: with an simple refractor of 3 feet one can distinguish the stars. Its position has been determined from Beta [Persei], the head of Medusa.' (diam. 15')
- Object: M34
- Other Names: NGC 1039
- Object Type: open cluster
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 5.5, Angular Size = 35 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 2h 42m, Dec= +42° 47´, Constellation = Perseus
- Date/Time: 2011 Oct 20 at 05:55 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
- Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon 180 Hyperbolic Astrograph
- Camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) (modified with a Baader UV/IR filter)
- Field of View: 1.70° x 2.56° at 1.7 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 10.0 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 4 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M34-01w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Graduated Filter, Vignetting Correction, Noise Reduction, White Balance, Curves
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): Average Images, Curves, Noise Reduction
- Original Image Size: 3454 × 5179 pixels (17.9 MP); 11.5" x 17.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2011 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.