Happy cosmic Valentine's Day!

By Phil Plait | February 14, 2011 7:00 am

Over the past few years, I’ve had some fun looking for heart-shaped astronomical objects for Valentine’s Day. I found some good new ones this year, so I figured, why not put them all together in a gallery? So here’s your annual dose of cosmic cardioids! Click a thumbnail to get a bigger picture and more info, click the big pictures to go to my original blog posts about the pictures, and scroll through the gallery using the left and right arrows.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Geekery, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Valentine's Day

Comments (23)

  1. Thomas Siefert

    Hmm… I might not be much of a romantic, all I see is Edward T.H.

    But whatever it is, the price will be the double of normal because of Valentine’s Day.

  2. Colin Komar

    Awww!!! I really liked the equation pic! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. the card is awesome, and I dont’ even like maths. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody

  4. Sam H

    Last year at this time I read Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. Utterly amazing book, but the coolest thing is that I checked it out from the library on Valentine’s Day – which was also 20 years to the day that that timeless, eponymous photograph of our speck of a world floating in a dark eternity was snapped by Voyager 1 – which coincidentally was snapped on Valentine’s day 1990!! ūüėģ

    Now I can’t help myself:

    “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is made bearable only through love.”

    God I love Carl Sagan, pothead or not :)!!

  5. Oscar Ferro

    Regarding those relatively rare heart-shaped craters, I remember that the trees torn down by the Tunguska impact also formed a butterfly-like shape.

    I remember that some crude experiments performed before computer simulations were available, showed that in order to make that figure the incoming meteor’s trajectory should have formed a specific angle (about 27 degrees) with the surface of the earth.

    Is it possible that those craters were also formed by impacts at a special angle?

  6. Brett Ryland

    Curious, to me the original image in “MESA ME!” looks raised and the one in the inset looks lowered…


    Emission nebulae are red,
    Reflection nebulae are blue,
    Absorption nebulae are dark,
    Bill O’Reilly, you ignorant fool!


  8. Christine P.

    I wonder which campus that equation appeared at? Looks like something you’d expect at MIT. Very clever!

  9. Steve
  10. ASFalcon13

    All these pictures and Jenny McCarthy woo are nice and all…but no mention of Stardust NExt yet, Phil? I mean, the thing’s flying by a comet today! Surely that’d get some airtime on an astronomy blog, right?

  11. Pete Jackson

    Pauline, Ben, and Michele wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!

  12. Sieben Stern

    i have a question – whenever i see images of craters on the moon or mars, they always seem to pop out instead of look like a carter. i have to stare at the image until it starts to push inward, and i can see that it’s a crater – sometimes even turning the image until it clicks. i’m curious if anyone else has this issue or if it’s just me ^^;;;

    *edit – the next image answered my question!!

  13. Linda

    Thanks for sharing these :-) The formula-card is really neat ūüėÄ

  14. Maria

    I <3 space.

    Though, I think my astigmatism is to blame, I always see the raised/sunken objects correctly, and can't even see the optical illusion. The 1999 Heart Mesa on Mars looks like a mesa (it looks raised) and the flipped (upside down heart) looks like a pit.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar