Concept

Messier 2

Summary
Messier 2 or M2 (also designated NGC 7089) is a globular cluster in the constellation Aquarius, five degrees north of the star Beta Aquarii. It was discovered by Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746, and is one of the largest known globular clusters. M2 was discovered by the French astronomer Jean-Dominique Maraldi in 1746 while observing a comet with Jacques Cassini. Charles Messier rediscovered it in 1760, but thought that it is a nebula without any stars associated with it. William Herschel, in 1783, was the first to resolve individual stars in the cluster. M2 is, under extremely good conditions, just visible to the naked eye. Binoculars or a small telescope will identify this cluster as non-stellar, while larger telescopes will resolve individual stars, of which the brightest are of apparent magnitude 6.5. M2 is about 55,000 light-years distant from Earth. At 175 light-years in diameter, it is one of the larger globular clusters known. The cluster is rich, compact, and significantly elliptical. It is 12.5 billion years old and one of the older globular clusters associated with the Milky Way galaxy. M2 contains about 150,000 stars, including 21 known variable stars. Its brightest stars are red and yellow giant stars. The overall spectral type is F4. M2 is part of the Gaia Sausage, the hypothesized remains of a merged dwarf galaxy. Data from Gaia has led to the discovery of an extended tidal stellar stream, about 45 degrees long and 300 light-years (100 pc) wide, that is likely associated with M2. It was possibly perturbed due to the presence of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Messier 2 is located within our Milky Way galaxy, and is one of the oldest clusters of stars designated to the Milky Way. Like most globular clusters, M2 is found within the galactic halo, specifically in the southern galactic cap. This places it right below the southern pole of the Milky Way. M2 is defined as an Oosterhoff type II globular cluster. Oosterhoff type is a classification system of globular clusters originally observed by Pieter Oosterhoff in where globular clusters are generally separated into two types.
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