The cluster's brightest stars form a pattern resembling the Greek letter Pi or, according to Webb, an "oblique cross." At its distance of 4,200 light years, its angular diameter of about 20' corresponds to about 25 light years, similar to that of its more distant neighbor M37. It is of intermediate age (about 220 million years, according to Sky Catalog 2000) and features a yellow giant of w:apparent magnitude +7.9 and w:spectral type G0 as its brightest member. This corresponds to an w:absolute magnitude of -1.5, or a luminosity of 900 suns. For comparison, the w:Sun would appear as a faint magnitude +15.3 star from the distance of M38.