The Czech Republic has just released stamp issue celebrating 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. This issue honors noted astronomer Johannes Kepler, whose work Astronomia Nova
was printed 400 years ago. A German, Kepler spend several years in the Czech city of Prague as an assistant to the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Keplerís achievements include a comprehensive star catalog and planetary guide, The Rudolphine Tables
, a telescope design, and served as an astrologer and adviser to the Holy Roman Emperor. He is best known for his laws of planetary motion which were one of the first attempts to combine physics and astronomy. These laws are of critical importance in studying the motion of planets and were an important foundation for later discoveries, including the theory of gravity discovered by Newton.
The stamp is a well-designed one, with a likeness of Kepler merged with a representation of the elliptical planetary orbit he discovered. The International Year of Astronomy is leading to some really nice looking stamps. Collecting these issues would be a great way to introduce yourself to a wide variety of international stamps. Further information on this issue is available from the Czech Post.