Messier 2

M2 was another accidental discovery for Charles Messier. He first observed it while looking for a comet in 1760. Unlike M1, credit for M2 is properly attributed to Jean-Dominique Miraldi II who noticed M2 in 1746 while observing a comet. Correctly, Miraldi suggested that this body might be a cluster. Telescopes of sufficient magnification and resolution to resolve the cluster's individual stars were not in use at the time. Miraldi could only guess that, as he could not detect any stars surrounding the apparent haze, the haze must be made up of stars too faint to be detected with the available equipment.

M2 contains 21 known variable stars, the brightest being Chèvremont's variable. Chèvremont's variable was first noted by A. Chèvremont in 1897. It can be seen on the eastern edge of the cluster, barely north of center, and varies in magnitude from 12.5 to 14 over a period of roughly 11 days (this period fluctuates). As the nearest noteworthy star in this section of the sky is a 10th-magnitude star ~5' NE of the nebula, M2 is the most visually impressive body in its section of the sky

Finding M2 in the autumn sky can be a little difficult. To begin, locate Epsilon Pegasi, the 2.4-magnitude nose of Pegasus. Then look to the southwest, roughly a fist-width extended at arms length, to find 3.9-magnitude Alpha Equulei. From the midpoint of these two stars, look 5° to the southeast to find a group of three 6th-magnitude stars. These are 25, 26, and 27 Aquarii. Look just south of 25 and 26 Aquarii, and you will see a string of binocular stars. Follow this string and you will find the 6th magnitude cluster, M2.

M2 can be easily observed at 23X magnification, and appears to have a bright, star-like center, surrounded by a yellow outer core. Then entire body seems to be surrounded by a light-blue halo. Under higher magnification, the halo, and then the core, will begin to resolve into a beautiful distribution that seems almost perfectly gaussian. All in all, M2 can be a delight for the amateur astronomer.

M2 is a measure of money. M2 is defined as all money that easily stores value with little cost to convert to M1. M2 is basically all money that has an exact value in currency (such as US dollars) and can be easily exchanged for that value. M2 is made up of the following:

M2 is, from version 7 and up, the built-in e-mail client of the Opera browser.

The approach of M2 is rather different from what most of us are used to. One of the major differences between M2 and most regular e-mail clients, is that it has no real folders, only various views and access points to all the messages. Messages can be accessed by

  • status (unread, sent, drafts, trash, spam etc.)
  • contact (clicking a name in the contacts list will show all messages received from and sent to that contact)
  • assigned labels ("to do", "important", "mail back", "valuable", etc.)
  • type of attachment (auto recognition)
  • mailing lists (ditto, if list headers are properly configured)
  • usenet groups
  • access points you make yourself by performing a search (all searched are automatically kept as access points, but you can of course choose to delete the ones you don't think you'll need again)

M2 comes with a built-in spam filter that can be set to medium or strong (or switched off). I have found the filter's strong setting very useful, although it is slightly too aggressive and I do need to hit the "not spam" button for a small number of messages daily.

The contact listing is also quite elegant - you can add a photo of your contact, chose a small icon to be displayed next to all messages associated with that contact, add a url so that right-clicking a contact takes you straight to that person's home page, etc.

I should also mentioned the brilliant little trick that you can drag and drop notes from the Opera notes panel to copy the text into e-mail messages.

For all its merits - I am one happy M2 user these days, since I gave up on Ximian's Evolution - the current version has some annoying features which are likely to be bugs. For instance, you can choose whether or not the receivers of your outgoing messages should be automatically saved as contacts, but choosing that the authors of your incoming messages should not be added, is not an option. This is highly annoying for those of us who receive, for instance, a lot of press releases. Also, the "active contacts" in the mail panel and the separate "contacts" panel are not thoroughly synchronized, which means, for one, that you can end up with two different contact listings for the same person. I've also read about people having trouble with creating distribution lists, but I have not tried this myself so far.

I mentioned the "not spam"-button, but strangely, there is no "this is spam"-button, although you can of course modify the spam filter by adding for instance keywords or header types you would like filtered.

Bugs aside, this is the best e-mail client I've ever used. It's wonderfully integrated with my favourite browser, I don't need to keep track of an ever-increasing number of folders, and it saves everything in mbox format so that my e-mail can easily be backed up and/or exported, should something even better come along.

generic-man says: I registered Opera for M2, although its IMAP support is not great (it never deletes messages locally when they're gone from the server, for example)

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