Charles Messier(Aug. 25th, 1764):
'A cluster of small stars a little below the parallel of Gamma Andromedae. In a ordinary telescope of 3 feet (focal length) one can distinguish the stars......'
'Just perceptible to the naked eye; a very grand low-power field. One of the finest objects of its class. Contains an 8th magnitude pair 20 arc seconds apart.'
Quote from The Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000:
"Rich in stars; large brightness range; slight central concentration; detached."
M-34 (NGC 1039) is an open star cluster in the Constellation of Perseus with about 80 member stars. Studies show that it is more 'middle age' for an open cluster, with an estimated age of 100 million years. Unfortunately there is great variability in the distance estimates, but most consider it to be about 1,400 light years away and about 18 light years in diameter. Walter Scott Houston, the long-time "Deep Sky Wonders" columnist (Sky & Telescope) considered M-34 to be a rather sparse cluster and noted "…it is not more spectacular in a large telescope, as it does not seem to have the needed fainter stars to buttress the view. Rather I feel that 15x65 binoculars give the best impression……"
George Normandin, KAS
January 21st, 2008