Valentine’s Night Treats❤️
While none of the official constellations are heart-shaped, there are some romantic duos in the stars that you can see with your unaided eyes on Valentine’s Day night. There are also a few delightful Valentine’s-themed clusters and nebula for your enjoyment — and even some heart-shaped craters on Mars!
🌟 If you look about halfway up the western sky during mid-evening, you’ll see the stars of Princess Andromeda. Andromeda’s hero and eventual husband, Perseus, is the constellation directly above her. Its center is marked by the bright star Mirfak.
🌟 To celebrate fraternal love, we have the constellation of Gemini located in the evening sky to the upper left of Orion. The two medium-bright stars Pollux (on the lower left) and Castor (on the upper right), mark the two brothers’ heads. Note that Pollux is a wee bit brighter and warmer in color than Castor.
🌟 For a different type of devotion, we can highlight hunter Orion’s faithful companion Canis Major (the Big Dog). Canis Major forever and faithfully follows his master around the sky. On mid-February evenings, the brightest star of Canis Major, Sirius, reaches its highest point over the southern horizon at around 9:30 pm local time, sparkling like a diamond!
🌟The constellation Monoceros, located close to Canis Major, is home to a small open star cluster named Messier 50, also known as the Heart-Shaped Cluster and NGC 2323. The cluster is visible in binoculars — but try viewing it through your telescope.
🌟 The constellation Cassiopeia hosts the Heart Nebula, also known as the Valentine Nebula and IC 1805. This truly beautiful object is challenging to see; you’ll need a very, very dark sky to enjoy it. A faint but rich star cluster named Caroline’s Rose (NGC 7789) sits a few degrees below the bottom stars of Cassiopeia.
🌟 The high-resolution camera on the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter has captured the surface of Mars in great detail — we’ve found some Valentine’s hearts on the Red Planet! Other love-themed Solar System objects include the main belt asteroids 433 Eros and 477 Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day!💕
Adapted from Chris Vaughan