Messier 34, Open Cluster

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Messier 34. Image Credit: Frosty Drew Observatory
Messier 34: Messier 34 is a bright open cluster in Perseus. At 1,400 light years away this cluster is composed of about 90 members. Up to half of the stars in Messier 34 are part of a binary system and have at least one companion star. Messier 34 was also formed alongside the famous Pleiades star cluster but the clusters have since drifted apart. However just like the Pleiades, Messier 34 can be seen without any optical aid in dark skies. To find Messier 34 scan the area of sky between Andromeda and Perseus with binoculars or a finderscope. In finderscopes the cluster will appear as a dim haze but binoculars will really bring out the beauty of this cluster. In a moderately sized telescope even more stars will be shone. If using a telescope use the lowest magnification possible to view the entirety of the cluster. You won’t be disappointed.

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