Leicester’s Jupiter research cited on new Royal Mail set

The latest commemorative stamps from Royal Mail celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society.  And the work of space scientists in our School of Physics and Astronomy gets a mention.

Jupiter’s auroras feature on one of the £1.55 stamps. This is a topic that our researchers have studied in great detail, using data from both the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Juno mission to the gas giant.

The presentation pack for the new ‘Visions of the Universe’ stamp set has this to say:

Jupiter’s Auroras
Like the Earth, the giant planet Jupiter experiences auroras. On both planets, they are produced when charged particles accelerate into the atmosphere, giving off light as they collide with the gas atoms there. Earth’s auroras come in visible wavelengths of red and green, but at Jupiter they shine in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum and as X-rays. On Earth, powerful voltages in our magnetic field power the auroras, but this does not seem to be the case at Jupiter, where the source of power remains a mystery. A team of astronomers at the University of Leicester continues to study this phenomenon.

Two University of Leicester Professors have served as President of the Royal Astronomical Society: Ken Pounds (1990-1992) and Martin Barstow (2014-2016). And Professor Emma Bunce is President Elect, set to take up the role for two years from May.

The stamps will be available from Post Office branches from next Tuesday, 11 February.  

This is not the University’s first brush with philately. Back in 1971 our Engineering Building was featured on a stamp issued as part of a series depicting University buildings. It had a face value a bit less than £1.55!