Cosmic hugs and kisses on Valentine’s Day

We love finding patterns in the world, and what could be better than hearts on Valentine’s Day. Galaxy hearts, gaseous nebula hearts, even Mars hearts. The cosmos has it all. Here’s an astronomical selection featuring our favorite symbol of undying love.

Who knew the sun could blow hearts? A cloud of high speed electrons and protons from a solar flare sent its love our way on Jan. 26, 2012. Credit: NASA/ESA

Two ring galaxies colliding 600 million light years from Earth warm our hearts this Valentine’s Day. Credit: Galaxy Zoo

Caught in the shadows, craters on the asteroid Eros (yes, by wonderful coincidence, the Greek god of love) mimic a heart. Credit: NEAR Project, JHU, APL

Coral reefs are often ring shaped but Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Island felt the love and took things a step farther. Credit: Paolo Nespoli / NASA

How many ways does the Red Planet love ya’ baby? Nine remarkable depressions and mesas on Mars show that even a chilly planet can have a heart, er, hearts. Credit: NASA

An island in Mexico interrupts the flow of air to create an adorable pattern on the island’s lee side. ¬†Credit: NASA

This Hubble image shows the kissy-face Antennae galaxies in Corvus the Crow. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

Bodies of water in central Asia having a heart-to-heart.  Credit: NASA

A whole lotta love. Known as W5 and sometimes called the Soul Nebula, this heart of glowing gas spans some 150 light years. Located some 6,000 light years from Earth, it’s in the constellation Cassiopeia. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cal-Tech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

We’ve heard of big-hearted but how about deep-hearted? Put on your red-blue 3D glasses to get to the bottom of this lunar crater blasted from the moon’s Galilae region. Credit: ASA/GSFC/ASU; 3-D by Nathanial Burton-Bradford

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

4 thoughts on “Cosmic hugs and kisses on Valentine’s Day

    • Thank you Richard. And I know what you mean about those shear pins. I have to be careful of icy chunks hard as rocks busting those shear pins. Definitely have shot out my share of stones over the years. I used to wonder how rocks got up on my garage roof, then it hit me. Yes, it’s a perfect analog for Opportunity.

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