M44 is probably one of the earliest celestial objects known to man as many observations have been recorded by different cultures since ancient times. Galileo was the first to turn a telescope towards M44 and note the "small cloud" to be composed of many stars. The cluster spans about 10 light years across and includes approximately 200 to 350 members confirmed by common motion. The cluster formed some 730 million years ago at the same time as the Hyades cluster. Both clusters have similar stellar populations pointing to a common ancestral cloud.