We heart the Earth and sky

This Valentine’s Day, we find so much to love in the many heart-shaped objects created by Mother Nature that can be found right here on Earth or all the way to the deepest reaches of the sky.

Two galaxies swirling together in a heart shape.

Happy Valentine’s Day from outer space, y’all! This image shows 2 galaxies – cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 and sometimes called the Antennae Galaxies – in the midst of colliding. Image via APOD.

Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re sharing the love by celebrating some of the many heart-shaped objects you can find from way out in the depths of space to closer to our neighborhood in the solar system to right here on Earth.

Gas nebula with reddish heart outline and bright core.

View larger. | Here’s IC1805, aka the Heart Nebula – a popular target for astrophotographers – via EarthSky community member Justin Ng.

The 2021 lunar calendars are here. A few left. Order yours before they’re gone!

A beige and black planet in space with a large heart-shaped light area at bottom.

We love Pluto, too! The New Horizons mission, which swept closest to Pluto on July 13, 2015, revealed unique surface markings including this light-colored area that traces out a huge heart on the planet. Image via NASA/ APL/ SwRI.

Orbital view of 10 varied heart-shaped craters in pinkish landscapes.

Mars has a lot of heart! These 10 images of craters with distinctive heart shapes were taken by the Mars Global Surveyor between 2001 and 2004. Image via NASA/ JPL/ Malin Space Science Systems.

Rocky gray ground with a shallow hole the shape of a heart, space-suited legs.

Let’s show a little love to this petite heart-shaped depression in the moon’s surface, photographed during the Apollo 12 extravehicular activity on November 19, 1969. The legs of astronaut Charles Conrad Jr. can be seen in the background. Image via NASA.

A heart-shaped island surrounded by blue water.

Back down on Earth, we find this heart-shaped island in the Republic of Croatia that’s just 164 feet (50 meters) wide. It’s Galesnjak, nicknamed Lover’s Island. This lovely shot was taken by ALOS, Japan’s Earth observation satellite. Image via ESA.

A dark-green lake shaped like a heart on brown and white ground.

This dark-green lake is part of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan with a heart shape that appears to be bleeding a thin stream of emerald liquid. Perhaps its heart is breaking because this shrinking sea is considered one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters. Image via World Top Top.

Pink heart-shaped blossoms hanging from an arc-shaped stem.

Heart-shaped leaves are common on Earth, and sometimes you can find heart-shaped blooms, too, such as this bleeding heart plant. Image via annie pm/ Unsplash.

Bottom line: The shape of hearts is ubiquitous in the universe, as seen through these photos from small petals on Earth to galaxies in the distant universe.

Kelly Kizer Whitt