- Issue date: 24/09/2004
- Printing Process: Huecograbado
- Paper: Estucado,engomado,fosforescente
- Size of stamp: 40,9 x 28,8 mm.(horizontal)
- Sheet effects: 50
- Postal value of the stamps: 1,90 €
- Print run: 1.000.000
- Dented: 13 3/4
Philately is taking part in the events commemorating the 250th Anniversary of Nautical Astronomy , which has been celebrated since last year, with the issue of a stamp on the occasion of this anniversary.
Knowledge of the stars, their position and movements has always played an essential part in maritime navigation. However, it was in the mid-18th century, at the same time as the scientific and cultural breakthroughs of the Century of lights , when nautical astronomy was fully developed as a result of the creation of the first astronomical observatory. The idea for its establishment came from the famous sailor and scientist Jorge Juan, Captain of the Marine Guard Company, in order that future Navy officers could learn to master Astronomy, a science necessary for navigation. As a result, what was then known as the "Royal Observatory of Cadiz" was established as a department of the Marine Guards Academy. The new observatory, Europe's southernmost, became increasingly prestigious as a result of the importance studies carried out by scientists such as Luis Godin and Vicente Tofiño, and the support given to academic expeditions to various parts of the world in the late 18th century. In 1798, the observatory was moved to the Island of León (today San Fernando), to the famous building constructed according to plans by Marqués de Urueña, where it remains today. In 1804, it changed government department and became a scientific institution and a pioneer in various research fields, and in 1814 was renamed the "Royal Observatory of San Fernando". During this period, people as famous as José Sánchez Cerquero and Cecilio Pujazón worked in the institution. Today, the Royal Naval Institute and Observatory of San Fernando is an important research centre with departments specialising in Astronomy, Geophysics and Time, among other areas. It is one of the three geodesic points on the Iberian peninsular for global positioning satellite observation, and works with prestigious international institutions.