Philippe de Cheseaux (1746):
'A star cluster above the northern feet of Gemini.'
Charles Messier(Aug. 30th, 1764):
'A cluster of very small stars near the left foot of Castor; .....Reported on the chart of the comet of 1770...(and) on the English Atlas. Diam. 20 arc minutes.'
'Beautiful and extensive region of small stars, a nebula to the naked eye. Elegant festoon near the center, starting with a reddish star.'
Quote from Dreyer's New General Catalog(NGC) for NGC 2168:
Cluster, very large, considerably rich in stars, westward compressed, stars of magnitude 9 to 16; = M35.
Quote from Burnham's Celestial Handbook:
M35 is an excellent object for any small telescope; while particularly effective with a 6 or 8-inch scope with low power, something of its beauty can be appreciated in even a 80mm instrument. Curving rows of bright stars give an impression of rows of glittering lamps on a chain; fainter stars form a sparkling background with an orange star near the center. S.Raab in his paper "Research on Open Clusters" describes it as "a splendid specimen, a very large thin and circular cluster, without sharply conspicuous condensation. On the contrary, the center seems to be rather void of stars. In the vicinity of the center is a gathering of 5 or 6 stars ....the cluster passes imperceptibly into the environs.." Lord Rosse counted 300 stars in the group, out to a radius of 13'. Lassel, observing with a 24-inch reflector, called this cluster "a marvelously striking object - the field of view is perfectly full of brilliant stars, unusually equal in magnitude and distribution over the whole area. Nothing but a sight of the object itself can convey an adequate idea of its exquisite beauty." W.T.Olcott also classed M35 as one of the finest clusters in the heavens, and several observers have commented on the tendency of the stars to occur in curving rows, reminding one of the bursting of a skyrocket.
The rich little galactic cluster NGC 2158 can be seen as a fuzzy patch to the lower right of M-35 in the image above.
The best distance and diameter estimates are: distance = 2,850 light years, diameter = 23 light years. Hopefully the recent data from the Hipparcos satellite will provide accurate figures.
George Normandin, KAS
March 25th, 2008