Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present this celebration of the wonderfully clear skies of the Isle of Man in collaboration with Dark Sky Discovery.
The Isle of Man now has a total of 26 Dark Sky Discovery sites, which is by far the greatest concentration of such sites in the British Isles. Nineteen which were announced in January 2014, these were in addition to the seven sites that were similarly granted this prestigious status by the Dark Sky Discovery Network based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in October 2012.
Dark Sky Discovery status is granted 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, which is known in Manx as "Raad Mooar re Gorry" or the great way of King Orry. The Isle of Man has many such locations, which have now been formally acknowledged by the DSDN and by many visiting astronomers.
Isle of Man Post Office produced the stamps following consultation with Howard Parkin FRAS of AstroManx and the stunning images on the stamps show the spectacular images of the Manx night skies and feature some of the constellations clearly visible throughout the year from the Islands darker skies.
The set of four stamps show four dark sky scenes taken from various locations, and superimposed on each is one or more of the constellations each season as seen from the Isle of Man.
The 42p stamp shows Orion, one of the most spectacular winter constellations superimposed onto an image taken from Niarbyl. The 164p stamp shows Leo, a spring constellation and the skies from Port Erin, the 182p stamp shows the summer constellation of Cygnus with a spectacular view of the Milky Way as seen from Fort Island and the 230p stamp shows the autumn group showing Pegasus and Andromeda with the sky from Langness.