30 June 2011


This week I have received a nice set of 10 used stamps from Sumie, from Japan.
These stamps were issued by Japan in March 2008, to commemorate the Astronomical Society of Japan’s centenary. They feature Jupiter, Saturn, a Spiral Galaxy, satellite ASTRO E-II, the Hayabusa probe which rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa, the Subaru teleskope with Edge-On Galaxy, Mars and the Nobeyama radio Observatory. Below you can take a glance of the MS.

Relying on the fact that almost anyone knows something about planets, I searched a bit to know more about the other astronomical objects and tools.

Galaxies come in a variety of shapes, with the shapes depending in a way not yet completely understood on the evolution of the galaxies. More than half of all observed galaxies are spiral galaxies. 
spiral galaxy is a certain kind of galaxy, originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae and, as such, forms part of the Hubble sequence. Spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge. These are surrounded by a much fainter halo of stars, many of which reside in globular clusters. Spiral galaxies are named for the spiral structures that extend from the center into the disk. The spiral arms are sites of ongoing star formation and are brighter than the surrounding disk because of the young, hot OB stars that inhabit them.
Sometime a galaxy is turned in space so that we see it edge on.  When this happens we often also see a dark line running down the center of the galaxy.  This is a concentration of cooler interstellar dust outlined against the brighter background made by the stars that comprise the galaxy. 

Suzaku (formerly Astro-E2) is a satellite for studying X-rays emitted by stars, galaxies, and black holes. It is a joint project between Japan and the US, and was launched on July 10, 2005. For those interested in learning more about this satellite please join Suzaku Learning Center.

Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to return a sample of material from a small near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa, to Earth for further analysis. See here the Mission Profile.

Subaru Telescope is the 8.2 metre flagship telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, located at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii. Latest news here.

The Nobeyama Radio Observatory (NRO) is a division of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and consists of three radio instruments located in Nobeyama, a village in the Japan Alps at an elevation of 1350m. Official website here.

So here I am "lost in space" with all these galaxies, observatories and nebulae. Just wonderful. This reminds me of a song from DUNE: Million miles away from home.

Title: Centenary of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Date of Issue: 21 March 2008
Country: Japan
Denominations: 10 x 80 Japanese Yen
Source: http://www.spaceandastronomystamps.com/jpn.xhtml

24 June 2011


This week I saw Vivian´s blog and I thought it is a good idea to join the Sunday Stamps issue. So I have chosen to talk about butterflies. They are not really part of my favorite stamp themes, and at first I bought them for a friend, but I find them lovely. So here they are, flying around in my album:

The butterflies, which are members of the Order Lepidoptera, are the lively colored insects with membranous wings covered with microscopic scales. From a larva or a caterpillar stage they turn into nymphs or pupas and then into a beautiful colorful butterfly. Their life span differs from one species to another; they may live a month or a couple of months, a few hours or even a year. Depending their feeding time, they are both diurnal and nocturnal and they differ by their way of living and also by their appearance.
There are so many things there to write about, I try to focus on description and interesting facts (in italic).

The postage stamps issue which Romfilatelia introduced into circulation this year (2011), illustrates the following species: the Old World Swallowtail, the Scarce Swallowtail, the Mountain Apollo, the Peacock Butterfly, the Atlas Moth, the Morpho Butterfly and the Glasswing Butterfly. 

The Mountain Apollo (Parnassius apollo) is illustrated on the postage stamp with face value of lei 0.50. It is a very beautiful species of butterfly that were once widespread all over the European and Asian meadows. Unfortunately, nowadays they’re almost extinct and very rarely seen. They inhabit territories in meadows and mountains up to 2200 metres above sea level, ranging from Europe to Central Russia. The various species of butterflies differ in their colouration and the size of the dots on their wings. Apollo’s five to eight centimeter long wings are creamy, with black and red or yellow spots. These colourful spots are intended to confuse predators, mostly birds, because the red or yellow dots hold a similarity to a mammal’s eyes, thus saving the butterfly from certain death. The small head holds a pair of eyes, as well as two long tentacles that act as smell and taste sensors. The butterfly’s chest and stomach are covered with small, white hairs. Pictures here.

The Glasswing Butterfly (Greta oto) is illustrated on the postage stamp with the face value of lei 0.60. It was named this way by the first entomologists who described it in honor of the great Swedish-born American actress, Greta Garbo 
The butterfly has transparent wings, the fine veins on its wings making it look like colored glass. It can be found in the area between Mexico and the other Central America states.  Glasswing butterflies lay their eggs on a toxic group of plants in the Cestrum genus, or nightshade family, which provide the eggs and larvae with alkaloids that ward away predators, due to the bad taste.

The Morpho Butterfly (Morpho nestira) is illustrated on the postage stamp with face value of lei 2.40. It is a large butterfly, its wingspan being of about 180 mm. The adults feed during the day on the juice of plants and fruits, while the larvae feed on plants and only during night time. It can be found mainly in Central and Southern America.  the entire blue morpho life cycle lasts only 115 days.

The Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) is illustrated on the postage stamp with face value of lei 3.00. Its wingspan is of 70-90 mm. It can be found over a large area from Western Europe to Japan.  

The Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) is illustrated on the postage stamp with face value of lei 4.50. It is considered to be the largest butterfly of the Saturnidae Family, having a wingspan of 270-280 mm. It can be found in Southern Asia and Isles of Indonesia.  Atlas moths are predominantly tawny to maroon in colour with roughly triangular, diaphanous "eyes" on both forewing and hindwing, bordered in black. The purpose of these dramatic, gossamer portals is not clear, but they are thought to play a role in predator avoidance. Their bodies are hairy and disproportionately small compared to their wings. Neither sex possess fully formed mouthparts and therefore do not feed; throughout their 1–2-week adult life they survive entirely on larval fat reserves that they build up while they are caterpillars

The Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io) is illustrated on the postage stamp with face value of lei 5.00 and is part of the Nymphalidae Family. It is a large, diurnal butterfly which has a “peacock eye” pattern on both wings. The specialists consider it to be the most beautiful butterfly in Romania. I have seen myself many of these in childhood. The butterfly has cryptic undersides with flashy eye-spots above and can also make an audible sound by rubbing its wings together, presumably as anti-predator measures

Title: BUTTERFLIESThe Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) is illustrated on the postage stamp of the perforated souvenir sheet with the face value of lei 8.10. Its wingspan is of 70-90 mm. The larvae of this butterfly live on fruit trees. More pictures here

I don´t have the FDC, but they look interesting too:

Following the link below you will find more posts about Summer on stamps, and maybe more butterflies :)

Date of Issue: 12 April 2011
Country: Romania
Denominations: 0,5L, 0,6L, 2,4L, 3L, 4,5L, 5L and SS 8,1L
Source: www.romfilatelia.ro

17 June 2011


I received a very beautiful set of stamps from Akin, Turkey. They illustrate, very nicely, important Turkish railway stations, both interior and exterior views and an express train.

Turkey's largest and most magnificent railway station, Haydarpasa, shown on the first stamp, was built in the early 20th century by the German architects Otto Ritter and Helmuth Cuno. A monument to the close Turkish - German relations of the time, the station was built in neo-renaissance style and has an U-plan. The inauguration ceremony took place on 19 August 1908, just after the proclamation of the Second Constitution

Foto by Arthur Eades
The facade is covered in textured sandstone, and the main facade overlooking Kadikoy Bay rests on a foundation of 1100 timber piles. The steep pitched roof is slated, and the interior is decorated with trailing foliage cartouches and garlands, and stained glass window. The ceiling of the circular room at the base of the southeast tower has ribbed vaults, and the upper landings have groin vaults. Flights of marble steps lead up from the quay to the monumental facade flanked by circular turrets with conical roofs, clock tower rising in the form of a crest at the centre, baroque decoration, balconies, molded cornices, and pilasters.

This splendid station building welcomes those arriving in Istanbul from Anatolia by train, and is the last sight of this enchanting city for those leaving with a mixture of emotions. Since 1908 Haydarpasa Station has witnessed many memorable events, both tragic and joyful. During World War I troops boarded trains for the front from here, many never to return, and in 1917 it was badly damaged in a bomb attack. Exuberant crowds welcomed Mustafa Kemal Atatürk here on many occasions when he arrived from Ankara.

Once upon a time, passengers of the Orient Express arriving at Istanbul from Europe and those who wanted to continue towards Baghdad, had to take a boat across the Bosphorus and board a train from Haydarpasa station.
Although with the increase in road transport and the advent of motorways Haydarpasa Station has lost its former importance, this magnificent building is still a landmark on the Asian shore of the city.

Want to make a virtual tour, click here.

Istanbul Sirkeci Terminal (TurkishSirkeci Garı), illustrated on the second stamp, is Istanbul's terminus for trains from Edirne and Europe. 
This is where the famed Orient Express ended its run from Paris, at the 19th-century Orientalist station near Seraglio Point beneath the walls of Topkapı Palace, right next to Eminönü, its ferry docks, and Galata Bridge.

File:Bahnhofsfront-Istanbul-Sirkeci retouched.jpg
The original front of the station (wikipedia)

The construction of the terminal building began on February 11, 1888. The terminus, which was initially named "Müşir Ahmet Paşa Station", was opened on November 3, 1890, replacing the temporary one. The architect of the project was August Jachmund, a Prussian who was sent to Istanbul by the German government in order to study Ottoman architecture. The terminal building which rises on an area of 1,200 m2 (13,000 sq ft) is one of the most famous examples of European Orientalism, and has influenced the designs of other architects. The building was also modern, having gas lighting and heating in winter.

The terminal restaurant became a meeting point for journalists, writers and other prominent people from the media in the 1950s and 1960s. The same restaurant, today called "Orient Express", is a popular spot among tourists.

The current station is preserved in its original state, but the areas around the terminal building have largely changed since 1890.

Several trains still run between Sirkeci and Edirne each day, and one, the Bosphorus Express, heads off toEastern Europe, but the best train out of Sirkeci is the Dostluk/Filia Express to Thessaloniki, Greece.

You may take a virtual tour, click here.

Date of Issue: 15 October 2008
Country: Turkey
Denominations: 0,65+10 and 0,80+10
Source: www.filateli.gov.tr

05 June 2011


Since the dawn of time, we’ve looked to the sky for hints of our cosmic roots—our place in time and space. The celestial jewels above have been an oracle for religions, a muse for poets and a compass for explorers. They continue to form the basis of our calendars, our clocks and our seasons. Our modern world is clearly indebted to the contributions of the world’s astronomers.

On April 2, 2009 Canada Post issued two domestic rate (54-cent) stamps to celebrate 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy and recognize the significant role that Canadians have played in uncovering the mysteries of outer space.

Each stamp pairs an important Canadian observatory with a nebula. 

One stamp features the National Research Council’s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) in Saanich, BC. Completed in 1918, the DAO was the first Canadian observatory of international calibre and, for a brief period, it was the largest operating telescope in the world. It is pictured before the Horsehead Nebula, an evocative cloud of cold gas and dust silhouetted against bright, swirling gases in the constellation of Orion. View short film here: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/tours/tour-orion/

The dark molecular cloud, roughly 1,500 light years distant, is visible only because its obscuring dust is silhouetted against another, brighter nebula IC434. The prominent horse head portion of the nebula is really just part of a larger cloud of dust which can be seen extending toward the bottom of the picture.

The other stamp features the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). This world-class 3.6 metre telescope is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano rising 4,200 metres above the Pacific Ocean. Opened in 1979, the highly-successful CFHT is Canada’s first partnership in an international observatory, in this case between the University of Hawaii, France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique, and the National Research Council of Canada. The observatory is featured before the Eagle Nebula, a massive tower of cold gas and dust shaped like a mythical beast in the constellation of Serpens. The Eagle Nebula is a region of our galaxy where stars are currently forming out of dusty hydrogen gas. Ultraviolet light from newly-formed stars in the vicinity of the nebula is pumping energy into these gas clouds, causing them to glow in visible light. Find out more about its colours here: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/behind_the_pictures/meaning_of_color/eagle.php

and a short movie with facts here:


These stamps are also included in the MS I have received from Kimberly.

In the background you can see the Carina Nebula. A Bok globule nicknamed the "caterpillar" appears in the middle upper part. Its glowing edge indicates that it is being photoionized by the hottest stars in the cluster. It has been hypothesized that stars may form inside such dusty cocoons

The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) is the only international Mauna Kea observatory belonging to Hawai`i as well as to its two other international partners, Canada and France. CFHT played a leading role in establishing Mauna Kea as one of the best astronomical sites in the world. Canada's participation in the CFHT project has also been a very important step in the development of the Canadian astronomical community and placed Canada at the forefront of the international scene.

More astronomical images by CFHT can be found at: www.cfht.hawaii.edu/HawaiianStarlight/HawaiianStarlight.html

Date of Issue: 2 April 2009
Country: Canada
Denominations: 2 x 54 cents

Source: http://www.canadapost.ca