On September 1, 2014, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins in collaboration with Dark Sky Discovery released these beautiful new astronomy stamps, showing some of the constellations clearly visible throughout the year from this location. The Isle of Man now has a total of 26 Dark Sky sites, by far the greatest concentration of dark-sky sites in Europe. Nineteen of the sites were recognized in January 2014.
Dark Sky Status is granted only to sites that have spectacular views of the night sky. One of the criteria for Dark Sky Status is the ability to see the Milky Way clearly on dark clear moonless nights, which is known in Manx as “Raad Mooar re Gorry” or the great way of King Orry, commemorating the landing of King Orry in the late 11th Century.
The Isle of Man has many such locations, which have now been formally acknowledged by the DSDN and by many visiting astronomers.
The stamps show four Dark Sky scenes taken from various locations on the Island across the seasons with one or more constellations superimposed on each. The stars as well as the surround of each stamp are distinct in that they are metallic. The Isle of Man Post Office calls them:
… an essential collectable for all philatelists and astronomy enthusiasts.
Bottom line: Heads up, stamp collectors and astronomy enthusiasts! A collection of new stamps from the Isle of Man, which has 26 Dark Sky sites.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.