Globular Cluster M2 in Aquarius
M2 is a globular cluster in the constellation Aquarius. Like other globular clusters, it is essentially an island of numerous suns that formed at a similar time, about
13 billion years ago at the time of the formation of our galaxy. Globular clusters orbit at the periphery of our galaxy, with about a hundred of them scattered
around the Milky Way galaxy. Containing 150 thousand stars within a diameter of 175 light years, M2 is one of the more compact globular clusters.If you lived
around one of the stars near the center, thousands of nearby stars would brightly illuminate your "night skies�!

Globular Cluster M2 in lies at a distance of 37,000 light years  The brightest individual stars are red and yellow giants, many of which can be identified on this
image.  Originally discovered by Maraldi in 1746, M2 was rediscovered by Charles Messier fourteen years later, and became the second entry of comet-like
objects in Messier's famous catalog.  

The image above combined 42 minutes of red, 30 minutes of green, and 48 minutes of blue exposures at the Hidden Lake Observatory.  An ST10XME camera
acquired the image through a Meade 12" LX200R at f7 using an Astro-physics reducer.

The image below, obtained 5 years earlier, combined 70 minutes of luminance exposures with RGB exposures of 20, 20, and 40 minutes at my light-polluted
suburban home.  An ST10XME camera acquired the image through a Celestron 8" telescope.
Music:  Age of Aquarius
click for full size view