UNSW's pioneering role in showing the unrealised potential of ground-based astronomy in Antarctica has been celebrated on a new Australian postage stamp.
In the foreground the stamp depicts a telescope in Antarctica - together with an infrared image of organic molecules in space that it obtained - with background detail taken from a photograph of a UNSW field station at the Concordia base, high up on the Antarctic plateau.
The photograph was taken in 2003 by Tony Travouillon, a PhD student with the School of Physics, and also shows the UNSW flag flying on the observatory. The flag, however, is barely distinguishable to the naked eye - it is, after all, a postage stamp.
Australia Post has featured research in astronomy as part of its new Australian Antarctic Territory stamp series for the International Polar Year of 2007-08. The series contains four stamps featuring science programs where Australia is playing an international leadership role in Antarctica. These are in astronomy, glaciology, marine biology and oceanography.
"We're very proud to have our achievements recognised in this way," says Professor Michael Burton, a member of the UNSW team and lead author of the scientific paper that presented the astronomical image depicted on the stamp.
The stamp features the SPIREX infrared telescope, which was operated at the South Pole in collaboration with scientists from the USA, and the UNSW AASTINO site testing laboratory at Dome C in collaboration with French and Italian scientists.
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