Portugal 2012

Portugal’s 2012 transit of Venus commemoratives consisted of an individual stamp and a mini sheet. The individual stamp featured Teodoro de Almeida (1722–1804), a Portuguese priest and physicist who successfully observed the transit of 1761 from Porto while others sent to more far-flung places were clouded out or even failed to reach their intended sites. Almeida’s results, giving the timings of the end of the transit and his estimate of the apparent diameter of Venus, were published as a single-page paper in the Mémoires de mathématique et de physique of the French Royal Academy of Sciences. The stamp portrays Almeida at his desk, with a ghostly image of his scientific paper behind him; alas, this is reproduced so faintly as to be almost invisible.

An accompanying mini sheet (below) contains a diagram of the geometry of a transit, on which the inclination of the orbit of Venus relative to that of the Earth is greatly exaggerated. The positions of Venus at the transits of 2004 (ascending node, far side) and 2012 (descending node, near side) are labelled. Beneath this diagram is an antique engraving of astronomers, although who they are or where is not explained. The 2012 transit was not visible from Portugal, although the 2004 one was.


SG number
Face value
to come
to come