For Valentine’s Day, many of us wonder: What’s the most romantic gift for one’s sweetheart? Bob Berman invites us to look to love in the heavens. Where do we start finding love above? Let’s take a look …
Let’s start with the morning and then have a nightcap!
Venus, the Goddess of Love
The logical starting place would be Venus, of course—the goddess of love. She’s at her brightest for the year this month and you can’t miss her. This dazzling beacon is for morning lovers. And it’s not too early. Just look towards sunrise on any clear morning! She’s so bright that you’ll see her in the morning sky.
“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510)
The Lunatic Moon
On February 14, the lunatic Moon, the very celestial embodiment of passion, is almost near its brightest! The full Moon peaks the morning of the 16th, so the nights of February 14 and 15 will appear full to our eyes. What’s what more romantic? February is a great month to see the Full Moon because it stays up all night, and given that nights are long in February, you’ll have some extra time to watch the show.
Luna is the divine embodiment of the Moon in ancient Roman religion and myth. She was often presented as the female complement of the Sun, Sol, conceived of as a god.
The Greek equivalent is “Selene.” They believed she would ride the white chariot of the Moon across the night sky, while Helios would do the same every morning in his Sun chariot.
The Moon was depicted as a woman with a crescent Moon diadem set on her head. She was sometimes said to drive a team of oxen and her lunar crescent was likened to a pair of bull’s horns.
Andromeda and Cassiopeia
And we’re not finished. If you’re ready to bundle up and step outside, a dark February night can also take us to the most famous mythological feminine constellations: Andromeda, the princess with diaphanous robes. She now floats high in the evening sky, as does Cassiopeia. Retelling their legends with a bit of mushy bias might just do the trick.
The Andromeda galaxy is that large spiral galaxy next-door to our own Milky Way galaxy—and the only other spiral galaxy we can see with the naked eye. Here’s a great article from EarthSky on how to see the Andromeda Galaxy in February.
Look to the left part of above photo for Messier 31, or the Andromeda Galaxy. Credit: ESO.
It’s more than enough to inspire romance. Guaranteed, your Valentine will welcome your embrace. Anything at all, to convince you to come in from the cold.