Discover Magazine has posted up a collection of images sure to please star-gazers today. Astronomers have often come across some familiar shapes in the galaxy on the voyage to discovery. For many, space can’t get more romantic than it already is, but Discover’s gallery is sure to awe even the grouchiest viewer today.
Along with each picture is a story explaining how the image was found and where. Those not impressed with the images themselves will be smitten with their back stories. The photo of the W5 star-forming region is literally the capture of the birth of new stars. Of this particular one they write:
“From studying the light from these stars, astronomers have found that the ages of the stars get younger as you move out from the middle, supporting the idea that the massive stars in the center (which form rapidly) are aiding star formation in the outer regions. As their winds and light move outward, they leave behind a wake of stellar birth.”
What’s all the more amazing is that a few lightyears away, close to the Valentine in W5, is a neighboring star-forming region. Its shape is a dead ringer for the human heart, with its chambers highlighted and all. The two together are appropriately called the Heart and Soul nebulae—with this human heart acting as heart and the Valentine standing in for soul.
There are amazing hearts found on our moon and Mars and each image is sure to bring a smile to one’s face. Have a look through their gallery and take in a few Valentines from the universe.
Happy Valentine's Day from Joonbug!
Link via Neatorama.