Royal Mail releases cosmic stamps to mark 200 years of Royal Astronomical Society

A new collection of stamps celebrates Britain's contribution to space exploration and astronomy.

Black holes were first suggested as a phenomenon in 1783 by English natural philosopher John Michell, and their behaviour was mathematically described in 1916 by the German physicist Karl Schwarzschild.

The Royal Mail has released a set of 8 stamps to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal Astronomical Society. The stamps are designed to illustrate Britain’s contribution to the fields of spaceflight and astronomy, and each depicts a specific cosmic object, phenomenon or space mission.

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Named Visions of the Universe, the collection features the Cat’s Eye Nebula; geysers on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus; black holes; spinning neutron stars known as pulsars; Jupiter’s aurorae; the phenomenon known as gravitational lensing; Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was studied by the European Rosetta mission; and the Cygnus A Galaxy.

Each has been illustrated by artist Robert Ball in collaboration with the Royal Astronomical Society, which formed on 12 January 1820.

The stamps are available from 7,000 Post Office across the UK from 11 February 2020.

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Take a look at the new designs in our gallery below:

For more information about the new space stamps, visit the Royal Mail website.