Have a cosmic Valentine's Day

By Phil Plait | February 14, 2009 2:36 pm

Click to swell your heart.

For those of you with room for even more romance, learn more about this nebula here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (13)

  1. crucifinch

    A cosmic cardiodolia!

  2. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    An Embiggened Heart – now showing at a universe near you.

  3. MadScientist

    Awesome – it even has the fatty tissue. :) Now if it would only morph into the shape of a real heart. I wonder what the origin of the ‘valentine heart’ shape is – I’ve always thought of it as a red sheep’s scrotum as seen while doing a handstand. Having had to kill and clean my meals since I was about 8, I never could associate that shape with a heart. I’ll shut up now – that’s too much reality from me for the moment.

  4. Mark

    Argh! It’s a skull! Complete with blue sparkle in the empty eye socket (cough cough Terry Pratchett cough) … ;)

    Oh, sorry. Valentine. Not Halloween. Uh, yes, it’s totally a heart. Awww. Sweet.

    (Skull, I say! Skull!)

  5. MadScientist

    @Mark: You’re right! It’s an alien skull with a shining eye – a bit like the terminator, but with an alien head of course and the eye shines blue rather than red. That also accounts for the top of the head resembling buttocks – it’s obviously ET. I don’t know how I missed that …

  6. Davidlpf

    Happy Valetines day
    (On bit of a sugar high now.)

  7. MadScientist Says: “Now if it would only morph into the shape of a real heart.”

    The APOD for February 14 is of the “Heart Nebula” which looks a lot more like an actual heart and less like the traditional “heart shape.”

    - Jack

  8. Juniper from Jupiter

    Cute. :-)

    But er .. what is it?

    Usually the BA tells us a lot more about what we’re seeing ..

    Is it a close up of a planetary nebula somewhere via HST?

  9. IVAN3MAN

    Juniper from Jupiter, click on the link below the picture to find out.

  10. Joe Meils

    Maybe it’s the state of my sex life right now, but I really don’t see the “heart” here… actually I see the upper half of a red lit skull… (too many years into heavy metal, I guess.)

  11. Joe Meils

    Oh well, you know what they say… “Sex & death…”

  12. Juniper from Jupiter

    Aha! THX IVAN3MAN. Belated, I know but thanks all the same. :-)

    Oops, I missed that link (& then I’ve been away for a few days so quite a bit still to catch up on here ..)

    Okay so the BA did tell us elsewhere :

    “W5 is a nebula, a giant cloud of gas roughly 6000 light years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia. It’s enormous, spanning about 2 x 1.5 degrees of the sky (15 times the size of the full Moon on the sky), and is actively cranking out stars. The valentine-shape is actually an enormous cavern, a hollow carved out of the gas by the winds and fierce ultraviolet light flooding out from massive young stars in its… well, its heart. It’s like these stars are blowing a vast bubble in the middle of the cloud.”

    Neat! 8)

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