Open Clusters are groups of tens to hundreds of stars, that usually formed together from the
same dust cloud. The surrounding "nebula" of gas has often drifting away, leaving a grouping of
individual stars. The stars are usually relatively young suns, because with time the stars in an
open cluster tend to drift apart, so that stars from "old" open clusters are no longer clustered
stars. Our own sun probably arose in such a cluster, perhaps including some of the stars of the
Big Dipper, that seem to move through space together with our sun.
The open star cluster M34 in Perseus contains over 100 bright blue-white stars at a
distance of 1,450 light years from Earth. M34 is a beautiful sight in binoculars or
small telescopes, with the dozen brightest stars in the cluster standing out brilliantly.
The image is a combination of 10 red, 10 green, and 14 blue 1-minute exposures
through a 4" refractor, using an ST10-XME camera.
Music: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles