June 2022 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Astronomy Study Unit! Our article, "The Astronomy Study Unit of the American Topical Association Celebrates 50 Years!" appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Topical Time (pp 68-71).
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The purpose of the Astronomy Study Unit is to collect and study philatelic material portraying the various aspects of astronomy, solar system, astrophysics, astronomers, and related subjects, and to communicate this knowledge to unit members and other interested persons. Membership info click here. Issue #123 of Astrofax (Vol. 31, Issue 3, Fall 2023) is now available for members. If you did not get your issue, contact Leonard Zehr. If you want to become a member and receive Astrofax, click here. For a sample issue of the Astrofax, click here. The 123rd issue features the second of a series of articles on planetary environments through philately by the authors of Unmanned Satellite Philately - this time focusing on the Moon's atmosphere; an article on article from Katrin Raynor on the Autumn skies and her recently published poem, "These Welsh Hill;" and new stamp issues.
The "New Issues" features the release of more stamps commemorating the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) - this time Bulgaria, and Serbia.
Also new issues from French Andorra, Norway, and Iceland.
The Astronomy Study Unit has a Facebook Group page! Please visit us at https://www.facebook.com/group/astronomystudyunit/.
The USPS released a Forever stamp on 22 September 2023 celebrating
the successful return to Earth of samples from NASA's OSIRIS-REx
mission on 24 September 2023. The name is an acronym for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer.
The spacecraft was launched on 8 September 2016 and arrived at
the asteroid, Bennu on 3 December 2018. The spacecraft spent several months analyzing the surface of the asteroid and collected samples of the asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Capsule safely landed in the Utah desert on
24 September 2023.
If you love astronomy and stamp collecting, then the Astronomy Study Unit is for you.
Chartered in 1972 as a charter member of the American Topical Association, membership in the ASU is open to anyone with an interest in astrophilately.
Effective January 2023, dues will be $10.00 per year and includes a digital subscription to Astrofax, the official publication of the ASU.
There are several web sites associated with astrophilately. Here are a few:
The ATA Handbook #90, Astronomy & Philately, first published in 1972, is now available as a digital, searchable PDF file.
A great website listing stamps issued from before 1940 to 1956.
An excellent compilation of the history of astronomy through stamps (from the University of Buffalo (NY) Libraries).
Mostly geared towards space stamps, but also lists many astronomy-themed stamps, particularly those associated with astronomical observations, such as the Hubble Space Telescope.
An amazing site of a catalog of stamps and launch covers related to scientific research, including solar research, astrophysics, and planetary exploration all organized by theme. The site is managed by Garry Toth and Dan Hilger, authors of the book Space Weather - A Philatelic Journey, available from the ATA.
Not exactly a website and not exactly devoted to astronomy, but this downloadable PDF of over 148 pages details an exhibit on science on stamps from the University of Buffalo libraries. Many descriptions of astrophysics, astronomy, and scientists associated with the discipline.
The Astro Space Stamp Society, based in the UK, is dedicated to everyone who collects space stamps, postcards, covers, signed autographs from astronauts to astrophilatelic memorabilia or just enthusiasts on the Space hobby. The Astro Space Stamp Society publishes the magazine, Orbit.
The Space Study Unit of the American Topical Association, featuring many overlapping themes with the Astronomy Study Unit.
Another study unit of the American Topical Association, which also features overlapping themes with the Astronomy Study Unit.
Ian Ridpath has an extensive collection of British stamps with descriptive information.
Calling all astrophiles! There is a fantastic book devoted to astronomy and astrophilately: Stamping Through Astronomy (2013) by Renato Dicati (ISBN 978-88-470-2828-9). The book explores the wonders of astronomy through stamps and philatelic materials. Lots of stamps in full color and a good read. The book is available through Amazon and other book dealers. See the September 2016 Astrofax for a review of this fine book! Also check out the June 2017 issue for a review of the book, Stamping Through Mathematics, by Robin J. Wilson. A must have with lots of related astrophilately subjects! Also, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, check out The Race to the Moon Chronicled in Stamps, Postcards, and Postmarks: A Story of Puffery vs. the Pragmatic (2018), by Umberto Cavallaro. Also check out the Space Weather - A Philatelic Journey (2019) by meteorologists Garry Toth and Dan Hilger. The book and CD is available from the ATA (Handbook 166-E). The ATA has also published Albert Einstein in Stamps: A Catalog (2020), by Al Raddi (Handbook #169). In 2017, another book by Renato Dicati was published by Springer: Stamping the Earth from Space. The book covers stamps highlighting remote sensing, meteorology, ionospheric studies, and much more that neatly overlaps with astrophilately.