Tag Archives: astrophilately

Russian Cosmonaut Day

Russian Cosmonaut Day is Celebrated every April 12, and I figured I would use this to feature Russia’s 1980 souvenir sheet issued to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the first-ever spacewalk. This took place on March 18, 1965, by Alexei Leonov. 


The spacewalk lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds and commenced 90 minutes after the Voskhod 2 mission started. You can read more about the mission, the first spacewalk by going to  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voskhod_2.

The Sombrero Galaxy

Originally published October 12, 2016.

Discovered in 1871, the Sombrero Galaxy is located in the constellation of Virgo a mere 28 million light years from Earth. It is 30% the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and is known for its prominent bulge in the centre.

It gets its name from the striking resemblance to a Mexican hat called a sombrero. Due to its brightness, it is easily viewed by amateur astronomers through a good pair of binoculars or a backyard telescope.

For more information, you can go to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sombrero_Galaxy.

Poland Goes Luna “16”

Originally published January 28, 2013.

On November 20th, 1970 Poland issued a sheet of 8, 2.50 zloty, stamps to commemorate the Russian Luna 16 unmanned moon mission.

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land and return from the moon with a lunar soil sample.  It was the third mission overall to return samples (The first were Apollo 11 and 12) to Earth and the first for the Russian Space Program.

Launched from the Baikonaur Cosmodrome on September 12, 1976, Luna 16 started its descent to the Moon on the 20th of September 1970, it landed on the lunar surface approximately 100 km East of Webbs Crater, in the Sea of Fertility.  Within an hour of landing the probe began drilling into the lunar soil to collect a soil sample.  After reaching a depth of 35cm (13.77 inches), a soil sample weighing 101 grams (roughly the weight of king-size chocolate bar) was taken and placed in the probe.

On the 21st of September, more than 26 hours on the surface of the Moon the upper stage of the Luna 16 probe departed the Moon.  Landing in Kazakhstan on the 24th of September Luna 16 brought its sample back to be analyzed.

Three soil samples from Luna 16 were sold at auction by Sothebys for $442,500 in 1993.