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 contains about 150,000 stars, including 21 known variable stars. Its brightest stars are red and yellow giants. The overall spectral type is F4.
M2 by Hubble Space Telescope; 3.5′ view
|Observation data (J2000 epoch)|
|Right ascension||21h 33m 27s|
|Declination||-00° 49′ 24″|
|Distance||37.5 kly (11.5 kpc)|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||+6.3|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||16′.0|
|Mass||kg ( M)|
|Radius||87.3 ly |
|Estimated age||13 Gyr|
|Other designations||NGC 7089|
Under extremely good conditions, it is just visible to the naked eye. Binoculars or small telescopes will identify this cluster as non-stellar, while larger telescopes will resolve individual stars, of which the brightest are of apparent magnitude 13.1. It is about 37,500 light-years away from Earth. At 175 light-years in diameter, it is one of the larger globular clusters known. The cluster is rich and compact.
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 it a nebula without any stars associated with it. William Herschel was the first to resolve individual stars in the cluster, in 1794.