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Stamp Profile UN International Year for Space Malawi Issue Date: 07/12/1992 The diameter of the planet Saturn is 74,977 miles. Its distance from the sun is a staggering 886.7 x 10° miles. However despite the fact that it has a volume 815 times that of the earth, Saturn's mass is only 95.2 times greater. It's not very warm there; round about - 150 0 C on a good day. Any potential visitors should not forget their thermals! However29/08/06 a challenge. The rocky core of the planet is only about twice the size of the Earth; the rest of Saturn's volume is made up of layers of hydrogen, helium, ammonia and water ice clouds, ammonium hydrosulphide clouds, ammonia and a general icy haze. It is the only planet in the immediate solar system that is, overall, lighter than water! The spacecraft Voyager II arrived at Saturn in the summer of 1981, 62,760 miles from the cloud tops. Unfortunately its scan platform was jammed. After 67 hours of testing it began to respond and although some of the observation programme was lost. 18,500 pictures of the planet were successfully transmitted. These enabled scientists to deduce a great deal of hitherto undiscovered information about Saturn and its spectacular rings. Voyager II and Saturn are featured on the 20t value of Malawi's UN International Year of Space issue released on 7 December 1992. The earth, sun and planets are all part of the Milky Way galaxy, an island universe of about 100 billion stars, basically elliptical in shape. There are countless galaxies, which have been classified by the astronomer Hubble into various shapes; elliptical, disc, with and without spiral arm... a bewildering prospect for the new stargazer. Very often, it seems, that the oldest and largest red stars are grouped in the centre of a galaxy and this vista has been depicted on the 75t design. The other two stamps show: 95t - Kanjedza II (Satellite Station) and K2 - Communication Satellite. Tony Theobald has designed the stamps, which are printed in lithography by Cartor SA of France. Europe in Space Cyprus Issue Date: 06/05/1991 The comets and a number of aseroids are believed to consist of the remnants from the time of the Genesis of our Solar System. Comets are located in three zones in relation to the Sun, the inner zone (Quiper), the Median zone and the outer zone (Oort). When a disturbance occurs in the Oort either because of an approaching star or more likely when the Solar System passes through the plane of the Galaxy every 33 million years, then the comets are launched in elliptical orbits round the Sun. 7 CENT STAMP. It depicts the European spaceship 'Ulysses' weighing 370 kg, which was launched in October 1990 from Spaceplane 'Atlantis', Ulysses will study the North and South poles of the Sun and all the Geographical latitudinal zones, with the exception of the Equatorial Zone, which can be studied from Earth. This would be made possible by using gravity pull exerted on the spaceship when it passes close to Jupiter in February 1992. Thus it will be able to escape from the Elliptical orbit. In this way, the Solar wind will be studied. The Solar wind consists of electrically charged particles, which escape the Suns gravity pull with supersonic velocities. It will also study cosmic rays, that is high energy charged particles moving, at close to the speed of light and originating from explosions in distant suns. The most interesting experiment of Ulysses exploration is the tracing of gravity waves, which travel in space and are the result of either Supernova explosions or the collapse of galaxy cores into huge black holes. These gravity waves have been predicted by Einstein's relativity theory, consequently in case such waves are detected, their discovery would be a major event. 18 CENT STAMP. It depicts the European spaceship 'Giotto', whose objective was the tracking of the famous 'Halley's Comet'. The launch was made by an Ariane rocket from the Kourou launching site in French Guiana on 2 July 1985. The meeting with the Comet took place on 14 March 1986 at a distance of 375 miles. Giotto's sensory instruments sent back a wealth of information on, for example, the comets core estimated to measure 15km, as well as its make up, which consists mainly of ice and other solidified gases as well as meteoric material. The processing of information will take years to complete. Giotto has remained in a kind of dormancy since 1986. It is already getting prepared, however for a new assignment - the meeting with the Comet 'Grig- Skiellerap' in 1992. (This article was kindly supplied by Cyprus Postal Services)
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