Name: INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY Date of Issue: 8 May 2009 Denominations:€ 0,60 and 0,65 Galileo's discoveries in 1609 changed man's perception of the world and the universe: the lunar mountains revealed that another planet had geographic landforms and structures similar to those on Earth; the Milky Way is made up of stars; Jupiter has satellites like the Earth, which represented the system on a small scale, making obsolete the cosmological models used up until that time. The € 0,65 stamp represents the solar system with all the planets in orbit around the sun, according to the heliocentric system hypothesized by Galileo Galilei, one of the first scientists to clash with the geocentric theory upheld by influential thinkers and illustrious theologians of the past. The twelve stars, symbol of the European flag, encircle the whole illustration and are the call for an international commitment to continue with the observation of the planets and widen the sphere of research and learning. Mount Titan, present at the bottom of the design, is perceived as the symbol of the Republic's participation and consent regarding future space exploration. The second stamp celebrates a historical route which has always seen man occupied in the understanding of the motion of the planets found in the universe around us, and just as curious to understand the laws which regulate the movement and the origin of such complex beauty. From the most rudimentary of telescopes used by Galileo Galilei (represented above on the left hand side of the stamp) to our most modern and sophisticated telescopes, human intelligence has strived to supply clear answers to the many questions which, over time, have brought the planets, the sun and the other stars nearer to us. The core element of this stamp is a celestial body, the main element of interest in astronomy, a satellite, much smaller, but studied just as thoroughly by scientists, and the Earth, where the continents and the oceans can be perceived.
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