From left, Youth Services Director Lisa Jackson, Fort Lauderdale Postmaster David Guiney and Planet Enthusiast Sophia Maritato admire the "Views of Our Planets' stamps at a special dedication at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARL&CC) in Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Kelly Worthman
During the modern era of space exploration, the planets of our solar system have been viewed with increasing clarity, thanks to the distant voyages of unmanned spacecraft and the development of ever-more powerful telescopes.
With the pane of 16 stamps, "Views of Our Planets," the U.S. Postal Service showcases some of the more visually compelling images of the planets.
Fort Lauderdale Postmaster David Guiney and Youth Services Director, African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARL&CC), combined efforts to present an “Out of this World" experience for the community.
During the grand opening of the "Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey" traveling exhibit, Guiney dedicated an enlargement of the 16 “Views of Our Planets” stamps. Eleven-year-old planet enthusiast Sophia Maritato flew in from Pittsburgh, PA, to participate in the special dedication. Maritato recalled looking at the stars, planets, and moon with her father at a very early age. In fact, at two years old, her first sentence was "the moon is white!"
The “Views of Our Planets” stamps feature eight truly beautiful images of the planets in our solar system — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Each image was obtained during an extraordinary era of space exploration.
Some of the images, like the one of Saturn taken by NASA’s Hubble space telescope, and the one of Neptune taken by Voyager 2, show the planet’s “true” colors — what we might see with our own eyes if traveling through space.
Other stamp images are color enhanced to highlight certain planetary features based on sensor readings. For example, the view of Mercury, from the Messenger spacecraft, uses various hues to show different rock formations on the surface.
And the Venus stamp provides a simulated view of the planet's surface based on radar reading from NASA's Magellan spacecraft. Then we have images that used near-infrared spectrum to show things that can’t normally be seen by the human eye. For example, the Jupiter and Uranus stamps appear in pastel colors based on images taken by the Hubble telescope.