This is the second cover I received from Slovakia last week. It's my second cover franked with the Europa 2009 - Astronomy serie, after the one from Switzerland. Thanks again Róbert!
On 20 December 2007, the United Nations 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The Resolution was submitted by Italy, Galileo Galilei’s home country. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union, UNESCO, and is also supported by Slovakia. IYA2009 celebrates the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo in 1609 - an event which had global implications. Now hundreds of telescopes both land- and space-based explore the universe 24 hours a day. Under the central theme ‘The Universe, Yours to Discover’ IYA2009 gives all nations the chance to participate in scientific discoveries and grandiose technical solutions. This year will highlight global cooperation for peaceful purposes - the search for our cosmic origin and the common heritage which connects all citizens of Earth. The coordinating body for the IYA2009 events in Slovakia will be is the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Tatranská Lomnica. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences on the Earth. It originated in the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations, which used cardinal points basic orientation and time measurement techniques as early as the 5th millennium BC. As a branch of science it has developed from the 16th century thanks to the works of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. The subject of study - celestial objects - is accessible to all, so astronomy may be regarded as an international science typical of close cooperation and effective specialisation by individual countries. Thanks to concentrated efforts in three specific fields - solar and Earth-Sun relations research; the exploration of comets, meteors and asteroids; and stellar and stellar systems research - Slovakia has a firm place in the international astronomical research community. Astronomical organisations in Slovakia can be divided into three categories: (1) Basic research – the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; (2) Education – the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University in Bratislava and the Faculty of Science of P. J. Šafárik University in Košice; and (3) Popularisation – the Slovak Central Observatory in Hurbanovo and other observatories and planetaria of self-governing regions, cities, and municipalities. Astronomy fans are associated in the Slovak Astronomical Society under the Slovak Academy of Science and Slovak Association of Amateur Astronomers.
(Ján Svoreň www.pofis.sk)