Open Cluster

Messier 35

Messier 35 is an open star cluster located in the constellation Gemini, composed of over 200 stars.

Messier 35 is an open star cluster situated in the constellation Gemini, discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 and later cataloged by Charles Messier in 1764.

Located approximately 2,800 light-years away from Earth, Messier 35 is comprised of over 200 stars, with a notable concentration of bright, blue-white stars at its core.

This stellar grouping spans about 24 light-years in diameter and is estimated to be around 150 million years old, making it a relatively young star cluster in astronomical terms.

Messier 35 is a popular target for amateur astronomers and is easily observable with binoculars or small telescopes, showcasing its beauty as a celestial cluster in the night sky.

Location and neighborhood

Messier 35 is located in the constellation Gemini. To find it in the night sky, you can look toward the winter sky in the Northern Hemisphere or the summer sky in the Southern Hemisphere, as Gemini is visible during both seasons. Specifically, Messier 35 is situated to the southeast of the prominent stars Castor and Pollux, which form the heads of the celestial twins in Gemini. The cluster is visible with binoculars or a small telescope and appears as a faint, fuzzy patch of light amidst the stars of the constellation.

Overview M35 and NGC 2158
Open star cluster Messier 35 (left) and NGC 2158 (right) with two open star cluster in the background (IC 2157 and IC 2158).

Unique facts Messier 35

  • Messier 35 is an open star cluster, which means it consists of a group of stars that formed from the same molecular cloud and are loosely bound by gravity. Open clusters are relatively young and contain stars of various ages.
  • Messier 35 is situated in the constellation Gemini, near the feet of the celestial twins Castor and Pollux. Its location makes it a prominent target for observation during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • This cluster is rich in stars, containing over 200 individual stars. The central region of Messier 35 is particularly densely populated, featuring a concentration of bright, blue-white stars that contribute to its overall visual appeal.
  • Messier 35 is relatively young in astronomical terms, with an estimated age of around 150 million years. This youthfulness is in contrast to some other astronomical objects, and it provides astronomers with insights into the early stages of star formation and cluster dynamics.

Brightness and size

Messier 35 has an apparent magnitude of about 5.3, making it visible to the naked eye under good viewing conditions. The apparent magnitude is a measure of the brightness of a celestial object as observed from Earth.

Messier 35 is located at an approximate distance of 2,800 light-years from Earth. This distance measurement indicates the vast span of space between us and the cluster, as it takes light 2,800 years to travel from Messier 35 to Earth.

The physical size of Messier 35 is about 24 light-years in diameter. This measurement represents the extent of the cluster in three-dimensional space, encompassing the region where its stars are distributed.

The apparent size of Messier 35 in the night sky, measured in arcseconds, depends on the field of view of the observing instrument. Given its relatively large size and spread-out nature, Messier 35 covers a noticeable portion of the sky. The specific angular size in arcseconds would vary based on the telescope or binoculars used for observation.