Here finally is the answer to a lover's seemingly unattainable request for the stars in the sky. So when the question arises "But HOW MUCH do you love me...?" You can confidently say more than all the stars in the sky- and point towards a picture like this of the Rosette Nebula. Shown here is an "organic" interpretation of this famous celestial gem with both flower and (with imagination) extended stem.
The Rosette Nebula (aka NGC 2237) is not the only cosmic cloud of gas and dust to evoke the imagery of flowers. But it is the one most often suggested as a suitable astronomy image for Valentine's Day. Of the many excellent Rosette Nebula pictures submitted to APOD editors, this view seemed most appropriate, with a long stem of glowing hydrogen gas in the region included in the composition. At the edge of a large molecular cloud in Monoceros, some 5,000 light years away, the petals of this rose are actually a stellar nursery whose lovely, symmetric shape is sculpted by the winds and radiation from its central cluster of hot young stars. The stars in the energetic cluster, cataloged as NGC 2244, are only a few million years old, while the central cavity in the Rosette Nebula is about 50 light-years in diameter. Happy Valentine's Day!
Credit: Adam Block and Tim Puckett.