The purest and most joyous kind of post on this blog is the one I get around to least often, where I simply show some stamps and say: aren’t they purdy???
A bunch of purdy stamps have crossed my radar lately, but the one I’m getting around to right now is the USA’s recent Sun Science set. It’s the sun, Jim, but not as you know it.
This set features ten images of the Sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, one of NASA’s big fancy space cameras. Different wavelengths reveal various features of our nearest star, creating a dazzling array of colors. Even the Sun knows that if you want to get your photo noticed in the age of social media, you need a good filter.
It’s hard to pick a favorite. I love the explosive fury of the Plasma Blast images, but then again, I also adore the gem-like radiance of the Solar Flare stamps. On top of that, thanks to this set, I have only just discovered that there is such a thing as a Coronal Hole, which makes me giggle like a schoolboy.
It’s a stunning set and a worthy companion to other USPS space-themed issues of recent years, like 2016’s Views of our Planets and the Solar Eclipse stamp that I featured in this post on novelty stamps. (While we’re browsing my archives, there’s also this post on Australia’s 2015 release, Our Solar System.)
These static images aren’t actually doing the stamps justice. In real life, they have been treated with a foil coating that makes them glimmer, leading to a spike one of my favourite social media sub-genres, ‘People Being Publicly Excited About Stamps’. I found a great illustrative video, but depending on your device, you may have to click through to see it. If you’re looking at a giant white space, it’s brought to you by Instagram.
If space-themed stamps are your thing, and you’re on Twitter, you MUST follow Katrin Raynor-Evans FRAS FRGS, who can be found at her handle, @ratrin. She is totally an actual astronomer (check out all those letters after her name), and also totally an actual philatelist. She constantly links to purdy things – sometimes stamps, sometimes space, and usually both.
Massive respect to NASA for these beautiful images, and to art director Antonio Alcalá for turning them into such gorgeous stamps. Quite timely, too. Having read the latest report this week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s nice to show the sun just a little more appreciation while it carries on its role as an unwitting accessory to our totally avoidable, self-inflicted global extinction. Hooray!
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