NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 14 February 2023: Heart and Soul Nebulae celebrate day of love | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 14 February 2023: Heart and Soul Nebulae celebrate day of love

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a celebration of Valentine’s Day in the form of the Heart and Soul Nebulae located nearly 6000 light-years from Earth.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 14 2023, 14:56 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the week: Nebulae to Comet ZTF, check them all
Heart and Soul Nebulae
1/5 Rosette Nebula (Feb 6) - A breathtaking image of a nebula, which is around 5200 light-years away from Earth was featured as the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day on Feb 6. NASA says in the heart of the Rosette Nebula, there lies a bright cluster of stars that light up the nebula. NGC 2244's stars only formed a few million years ago from the surrounding gas. The center of the Rosette Nebula, visible through binoculars in the Monoceros constellation, measures about 50 light-years in diameter.  (NASA/Lyman Insley)
Heart and Soul Nebulae
2/5 Rare Green Comet ZTF (Feb 7) - The Rare Green Comet ZTF passed Earth at its closest distance on February 1 after a period of nearly 50000 years. Along with the comet, two dippers - the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper can also be seen. The Big Dipper is a popular term used to describe the shape formed by the seven brightest stars in the constellation Ursa Major or the Great Bear.  (NASA/Petr Horalek/Institute of Physics in Opava)
Heart and Soul Nebulae
3/5 Wind-Shaped Nebula (Feb 8) - NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb 8 is a mesmerizing snapshot of the Stellar Wind-Shaped Nebula RCW 58. It is located nearly 13000 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. The Nebula has a wolf star located in the center, a star which is 100 times as massive as our Sun, a million times more luminous, and with 30 times the surface temperature. When these stars expand, they eject high-speed stellar winds through their outer layer.  (NASA/Mike Selby/Mark Hanson)
Heart and Soul Nebulae
4/5 Nacreous Clouds (Feb 9) - Nacreous Clouds are a type of rare Polar Stratospheric Clouds which form when unusually cold temperatures in the usually cloudless lower stratosphere form ice crystals. NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day on Feb 9 is of the stunning Nacreous Clouds visible in Swedish skies. They are formed in the lower Stratosphere at an altitude of about 15 KM to 25 KM. (NASA/ Dennis Lehtonen)
Heart and Soul Nebulae
5/5 Comet ZTF meets Comet ATLAS (Feb 10) - NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb 10 is breathtaking picture of the Comet ZTF racing across the skies as it passed another comet named Comet C/2022 U2 (ATLAS) near the constellation Auriga. Captured on the night of February 6 from a garden observatory in Germany's Bavarian Forest, the starry field of view toward the constellation Auriga spans about 2.5 degrees.  (NASA/Stefan Bemmerl)
Heart and Soul Nebulae
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The Heart and Soul Nebulae span nearly 300 light-years across. (NASA/Juan Lozano de Haro)

Valentine's Day is upon us and it seems even celestial objects are celebrating the day of love. One such celestial formation is the Heart and Soul nebulae. As the name suggests, the Heart and Soul nebulae consist of an emission nebula named as the Heart Nebula due to its shape which was discovered by William Herschel on 3 November 1787. In case you didn't know, A nebula is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space, according to NASA. These celestial objects exist in the space between stars, known as the Interstellar space.

Some nebulae originate from the gas and dust thrown out by the explosion of a dying star while other nebulae are star-forming regions. NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a celebration of Valentine's Day in the form of the Heart and the Soul Nebulae which are located about 6000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The picture was captured by Juan Lozano de Haro.

According to NASA, the nebula to the right is the Heart, designated IC 1805 and named after its resemblance to a human heart. To the left is the Soul nebula, also known as the Embryo nebula, IC 1848 or W5. The Perseus arm lies further from the center of the Milky Way than the arm that contains our sun.

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NASA's description of the picture

Is the heart and soul of our Galaxy located in Cassiopeia? Possibly not, but that is where two bright emission nebulae nicknamed Heart and Soul can be found. The Heart Nebula, officially dubbed IC 1805 and visible in the featured image on the upper right, has a shape reminiscent of a classical heart symbol. The shape is perhaps fitting for Valentine's Day. The Soul Nebula is officially designated IC 1871 and is visible on the lower left.

Both nebulas shine brightly in the red light of energized hydrogen, one of three colors shown in this three-color montage. Light takes about 6,000 years to reach us from these nebulas, which together span roughly 300 light years. Studies of stars and clusters like those found in the Heart and Soul nebulas have focused on how massive stars form and how they affect their environment.

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First Published Date: 14 Feb, 14:55 IST
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