This stunning cosmic flower is known as the Rosette Nebula. Spanning 50 light-years across, it is the largest "rose" in the galaxy (albeit made primarily of dust, gas and baby stars). Approximately 2,500 newborn stars reside within this flowery nebula, and more continue to form from its clouds of cosmic dust.
Sky Heart over Paranal Observatory
Astronomer and photographer Julien Girard drew the heart in the air with a tiny flashlight at ESO's Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. The VLT telescopes are barely visible on the hill at lower right. This photo was taken on Oct. 20, 2011 and released by ESO officials on Feb. 13, 2012. [Read the full story.]
Roses Are Red, Auroras Are Green
Chad Blakley captured this image of the aurora on Feb. 14, 2012, at Abisko National Park in Sweden. "Another great night in Abisko!" Blakley wrote on spaceweather.com. "My wife and I were enjoying the last few moments of our Valentine's date when my phone rang ... it was a friend telling me to look outside. When I pulled the curtains back the whole sky was alive. I missed the big show, but I was able to snap a few photos before my equipment and my body gave out ... it was a chilly 31 degrees [Celsius] below zero (minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit)!" See more of his aurora images at www.lightsoverlapland.com.
Isle Be Your Valentine
Tourists seeking a romantic locale have requested visits to an uninhabited, heart-shaped island off the coast of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea – precisely because of satellite images such as this one. Japan's Earth observation satellite, ALOS, took this image of the small island called Galešnjak on March 19, 2010. The island measures 130,000 square yards.
First Flower in Space
One of the orange zinnia flowers grown in NASA's Veggie chamber on board the International Space Station in January 2016. [Read the full story.]
Zinnias in Space
After a bout of mold threatened the crew’s crop of zinnias, Kelly nursed the flowers back to life. He posted a photo of this beautiful bouquet to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
NASA Valentine's Day Comet Flyby
The planned Valentine's Day (Feb. 14, 2011) rendezvous between NASA's Stardust-NExT mission and comet Tempel 1 inspired this chocolate-themed artist's concept.
From Space, With Love: Astronauts Send Earth Cosmic Valentine
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi sent this Space Valentine to his Twitter followers on Earth. It shows the heart-shaped Coral Island in southeast Asia as seen from the International Space Station, where Noguchi is living and working on the Expedition 22 crew. [Read the full story.]
Necklace Nebula Seen by Hubble Space Telescope
The Necklace Nebula is located 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta (the Arrow). This composite image was taken on July 2, 2011 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3.
Rosette Nebula Night Sky Photo Knutson
The Rosette Nebula is about 5,000 light years away at the edge of the molecular cloud Monoceros. Josh Knutson took this image in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on May 27,2012. Knutson and Salvatore Grasso collaborated on the photo’s post-processing.