Date of Issue: 15 May 2009
Denominations: 55c, 82c
The stamps are issued under the aegis of PostEurop, the Association of European public postal operators. An Post's two stamps for this issue spotlight areas of astronomy that hold special interest for Ireland.
The 55c stamp bears a picture of the Crab Nebula. First observed by the English astronomer, John Bevis, in 1731, this nebula was named by William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse, based on observations made from Birr Castle, Co Offaly. The brightest and most recent supernova close to the Earth, this may very well be the most studied object in the sky. It is associated with a number of important scientific discoveries in Ireland.
The 82c stamp shows an artist's impression of jets from a Brown Dwarf. These are astronomical objects whose mass is smaller than that of a star but larger than that of the largest planets. There is a great deal of research being carried out on Brown Dwarfs at the moment, with Irish astronomers very much at the forefront.