Valentine’s Day is a special day – there are a lot of reasons why, but no matter whom you talk to about Valentine’s Day you will get a reaction out of them about the need for the holiday or the need to replace it with something else. For space lovers, perhaps it is the time of the year to shop astronomy gifts for your beloved one. While space itself and the universe are less likely to care or show an interest in the culture of love, we humans have made a lot of effort to impart those characteristics on and into every aspect of our lives, and of course, this includes Space.
And to start it all off we have the goddess of love herself.
Venus, the second planet from the sun, is named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Interestingly it is also the only planet named after a female (pre-feminist movement). Supposedly Venus may have been named for the most beautiful deity of her pantheon because it shined the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers. Therefore on an intellectual level, it was easy to study and analyze. But for the cheezy lovers of the past, it was the easiest to point out to the shiny light in the sky.
Now there also have been sayings like men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Space.com says that “Venus has a hellish atmosphere as well, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid, and scientists have only detected trace amounts of water in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is heavier than that of any other planet, leading to a surface pressure 90 times that of Earth.” So I think women wouldn’t be too happy to come from Venus but would rather spend their time on mars with the men if they had the option, perhaps that’s why we decided to make a deal and settle between the two with the earth.
The Planet has a heart on it, it’s true! Ok, maybe not like an actual organic heart. But amazingly NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took some snapshots as if flew by the planet (yes we consider it a planet) which shows the western region of the heart-shaped area informally known as Tombaugh Regio.
One fact about the Pluto atmosphere is that the “heart” has been found to be rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane ices, which on a side note is pretty similar to the compositional makeup of your ex’s heart as well. Not surprisingly this information and these images of the planet are quite recent and must have been a pleasant surprise to the scientists who were studying the images and then discovered the heart.
Personally, I wish there was a bit more information about the moment or video of the exact moment when the scientists discovered the heart. Did they think that someone on the team was messing around on photoshop or did they recognize the shape instantly and were quiet about it and waiting for their colleagues to speak up? I think the most humorous and most Hollywood effective story would be that they all became instanstantly paranoid that this was actually a message sent from an alien race, such as instead of crop circles the heart of methane ice as their calling card.
AstroReality PLUTO Classic is one of the perfect astronomy gifts for space lovers – share Pluto’s heart with someone your love.
On NASA.com Cupid is described as one of Uranus’s moons. It was discovered on Aug. 25, 2003, by M.R. Showalter and J.J. Lissauer, using the Hubble Space Telescope, that it is one of the inner moons of Uranus, so small and dark that it escaped the notice of Voyager 2 during the spacecraft’s visit in 1986.
How it got its name of Cupid who is the name the Roman god of love, who appeared in William Shakespeare’s play, “Timon of Athens” (in keeping with the custom of naming most of Uranus’ moons after Shakespearean characters).
However, as it was too small, for the voyager two to notice, it makes sense that cupid the small little angel like the character would also be a great name for a small moon.
This Valentine’s Day, hopefully, you are able to enjoy the day and share some of these fun facts with your friends. We at AstroReality hope to continue to give you opportunities to learn with our LUNAR models, our outer space gifts, and astronomy gifts for space lovers.