The stamp set is called Views of Our Planets, with a stamp depicting each of the eight planets in our solar system. The U.S. Postal Service selected the images and worked with NASA to learn more about each one.
UA Lunar and Planetary Lab senior scientist Erich Karkoschka used the Hubble Space Telescope to snap images of Uranus in 2003. Using three filters on the satellite, he captured colorful and revealing features of the planet’s atmosphere, such as three bright red glowing clouds in the planet’s northern atmosphere.
In 2004, he asked for time on the same instrument to attempt to obtain images of Jupiter with three of its moons in rare alignment for his research. Karkoschka said he was given one orbit of the Hubble telescope around Earth – about 40 minutes – to make his Jupiter observations. He said the phenomenon he viewed hadn’t happened for 60 years when he made his proposal to NASA.
Karkoschka said when he was doing his observing, he never dreamed his images would land on postage stamps. He is the only planetary scientist to bag two of the stamps.
The Arizona Science Desk is a collaboration of public broadcasting entities in the state, including Arizona Public Media.