Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The planets

On the 21st of May, the Irish post (An post) has issued a set of four stamps called “The planets”. The four stamps have been printed in band of two se-tenant. The design of those stamps is quite surprising, so I decided to show them to you. Here they are.

As you see the stamps are rather elongated. Each stamp pictures a half of the Earth and another planet. There is one stamp for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also the stamps picture a comparison between the size of the Earth and the size of the pictured planet. Impressive, how Earth is small compared to the four selected planets !The stamps have also been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet. Here it is.

When I saw this set I immediately wondered why only four planets are pictured (well five if you count the Earth). What about Mercury, Venus and Mars ? In fact the set is focusing on what is often called the Jovian planets, or more commonly the gas giants. A gas giant is a large planet that is not primarily composed of rock or solid matter. A gas giant may have a solid core, but the majority of its mass is composed of gaseous hydrogen and helium with also water, methane, ammonia and other hydrogen compounds.

The naming of the set is therefore a bit confusing. “The planets” should refer to the eight planets of our solar system, and not only to the four gas giants. Or may be An post will issue another set, next year, for the three remaining planets… I don’t know.
Following a sort of trend, An post has also issued a “De Luxe” booklet, that contains four panes of four stamps and several pages of interesting information in English and Irish. This is a very beautiful item, surely not very “postal”, but still a nice item. Here is the cover of the booklet.

Something surprised me on this cover. If you look at the illustration you see nine planets aligned from the Sun. I guess the last one, the one on the very far right is Pluto. But since 2006 Pluto is no more considered as a planet. Pluto is now considered as a dwarf planet as Eris and Ceres. So isn’t it a mistake to put it on the cover of the booklet together with the eight planets ? And if they wanted to include dwarf planets in the design, why not putting Eris (which is bigger than Pluto!) and Ceres ?


Anonymous said...

unique stamp..i like it.
ehm...eric..u can add me at www.andre-stamp.blogspot.com

thenks eric..

by andre

chickenstampy6669 said...

Very nice and great stamps.