We heart the Earth and sky! PHOTOS

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.

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Heart shapes in space

A heart shape formed by 2 merging galaxies with long tails. The shape and tails look light purple.
The 2 merging Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038 and NGC 4039) form a shape like a heart. Long tails stream outward as a result of the merger. Our universe is no stranger to heart shapes in nature. Image via ESA/ Hubble/ Robert Gendler.
A red heart shape made of gas and dust with scattered stars.
The Heart Nebula lies 7,500 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. It gets its heart shape from hot stars at the center that are emanating radiation. Image via ESA/ NASA/ Hubble.
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 with the shape of a heart, and there are space-suited legs at the top of the image.
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.

Finding love on Earth

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/ Arya Stone/ Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0).
A rock with a window shaped like a heart by the seaside.
This was the famous heart-shaped hole in the rock in Maui, Hawaii. Tamara Bravo captured the Nakalele Blowhole in July 2019, before it was destroyed by the relentless pounding of the waves in January 2020. Image via Tamara Bravo/ Unsplash.
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.
Swans on a pond with 2 holding heads together, their necks making a heart shape.
Part of a swan’s courtship ritual is to face each other and bow their heads, forming a heart shape with their necks. Swans mate for life. Image via Sarka Krnavkova/ Unsplash.

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

February 14, 2024

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Kelly Kizer Whitt

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