ASTROPHOTOGRAPHER Paul Holdsworth has shared this fitting image for Valentine’s Day.
The Heart Nebula – a cloud of gases in a recognisable heart shape, out in deep space – was discovered in 1787.
Rich in hydrogen, its red glow and distinctive shape are created by a group of stars – several of which have more mass than our sun – at the nebula’s core.
However, if you look up on Sunday expecting to share a kiss with a loved one under the nebula, you’ll be disappointed – it’s 40,000 trillion miles away from Earth.
The image was captured by Paul, 58, from his back garden in Darton using specialist astrophotography gear.
Objects captured by astrophotographers – using a telescopic lens fitted with a tracker that’s able to follow stars, nebulae and galaxies as they move through the night sky – are mostly invisible to the human eye.
Images, taken every few seconds with slow shutter speeds – which allows more light into the camera – are ‘stacked’ to produce a clearer picture.
Paul, who classes himself as an amateur, said a good image would take around ten hours of uninterrupted work, but owing to the poor weather he’s only been able to spend four on the Heart Nebula.
“It’s certainly still clear what it is,” he said.
“I still find it amazing that you can even pick this stuff up from a back garden in Barnsley.”