The best solar eclipse stamps are perfect ways to commemorate that rare celestial event where the moon completely blocks the sun. These events are some of the most awe-inspiring and humbling events that nature produces. Created by the passage of the moon in a path that brings it between the sun and the Earth, the moon creates a shadow visible from certain parts of our planet.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the areas blessed to be in the path of a total eclipse, you will see that the moon fully blocks the sun for a matter of minutes, creating total darkness, fascinating umbras and light artifacts, and dazzling transitions from light to darkness and, once again, to light.
The one downside to solar eclipses is the risk they pose to one’s eyes and electronics. The extreme brightness of the sun, combined with the sudden shifts in brightness, allow for damage to retinas and image recording equipment. This damage can be severe and long-lasting, requiring significant preparation and equipment to avoid.
The simplest solution to this problem is to view the phenomenon as captured in beautiful still imagery, rather than live. And what better way to look at a photo of a solar eclipse than in the form of a stamp you can send to your friends or loved ones?
Read on to discover our picks for the best solar eclipse stamps available for purchase in 2019 and even when the next total solar eclipse is set to occur.
Exploring the Solar System
Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun
2017 Solar Eclipse (#5211)
- 1 What Are the 3 Best Solar Eclipse Stamps For Sale in 2020?
- 2 What Are Solar Eclipses?
- 3 How Are Solar Eclipse Stamps Photographed?
- 4 When Is the Next Total Solar Eclipse?
- 5 A Word of Advice for Solar Eclipse Stamps
- 6 Final Thoughts
What Are the 3 Best Solar Eclipse Stamps For Sale in 2020?
1. Exploring the Solar System
This mesmerizing collection of solar system stamps will have you staring at your postage far longer than is appropriate or reasonable. Showing five different perspectives of our solar system’s sun, including a spectacular image of a full solar eclipse, this collection of stamps fully captures the brilliance and power of the center of our solar system.
The United States Postal Service issued these commemorative stamps on July 11, 2000. The first pentagonal (as opposed to rectangular) stamps ever issued by the USPS, the eclipse stamp is based on a photo taken from a satellite orbiting the earth. It displays, in stunning clarity, details of the lunar surface as it stands in front of the glaring sun.
This set of five stamps wins our coveted Editors Choice award due to the quality of its images, the age of the collection, and the inclusion of stunning images of the sun above and beyond that seen during an eclipse. While it has only three customer reviews on Amazon, everyone who reviewed this set gave it a full 5 stars out of 5.
- The United States Postal Service issued these commemorative stamps on July 11, 2000
- The first pentagonal (as opposed to rectangular) stamp
- stunning clarity, details of the lunar surface as it stands in front of the glaring sun
2. 2017 Solar Eclipse (#5211)
These thermochromic (heat-sensitive) stamps are a sight to behold. Not only do they feature an awe-inspiring photograph of a full solar eclipse, but they’re interactive as well. If you place a finger (or other heat source) on or near the black disc of the moon it will reveal details of the lunar surface.
Issued by the United States Postal Service on June 20, 2017 in anticipation of that year’s solar eclipse visible from parts of the United States, these beautiful stamps were the first to feature thermochromic ink.
These stamps are the winner of this category’s Best Value award. While they are not technically the lowest-priced stamps on this list, the addition of the thermochromic feature at this price makes them an indisputable winner in delivering value per dollar spent by the consumer.
- An awe-inspiring photograph of a full solar eclipse
- If you place a finger (or other heat source) on or near the black disc of the moon it will reveal details of the lunar surface
- These stamps are the winner of this category’s Best Value awardInstructions for safe use inscribed on the backNone
- Long charging time due to its size
- Not as outdoors-friendly as other models
3. Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun
These self-adhesive stamps are the far-and-away winners of our Most Popular designation, due to the 89 customer reviews it has garnered on Amazon. Like the stamps above, these are thermochromic. Unlike the stamps above, these come in full sheets, and in sets of five, for a total of 80 stamps.
Over 75% of the reviews for this product rated it at 4 stars out of 5 or higher, demonstrating the high quality and desirability of the stamps.
- Winners of our Most Popular designation
- 89 customer reviews it has garnered on Amazon
- Instructions for safe use inscribed on the back
What Are Solar Eclipses?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, partly or entirely blocking the sun’s rays from reaching certain parts of the Earth. Visible only from specific places on the planet, and different for each eclipse, total solar eclipses result in the entirety of the sun being blocked from earthly view.
The phenomenon results in spectacular visual effects visible from Earth without any special equipment (apart from a simple pair of eclipse viewing glasses). The “diamond ring” effect, “Baily’s Beads,” umbras, and coronas, all become visible at some point during a total solar eclipse. A full explanation of the causes and effects of solar eclipses are outside the scope of this article but it suffices to say that a more spectacular natural display you will not see on this side of eternity.
Solar eclipse stamps commemorate these events by capturing one or more of the stages of eclipse in a form suitable for shipping to your nearest and dearest.
How Are Solar Eclipse Stamps Photographed?
The photos that appear on solar eclipses aren’t possible to capture without special training and equipment. Typically, solar filters are used on cameras during solar eclipses to prevent damage to the photographer’s eyes and equipment. However, experienced photographers sometimes remove those protective filters during the part of the eclipse where the moon is fully covering the sun. Photographs are taken without the solar filter at that point. Before the moon can move away from the sun, the photographer replaces the filter.
Complicating things is that the most spectacular parts of an eclipse are those portions where the moon is just beginning to block, or just beginning to move away from, the sun. These events at the margins give rise to the spectacular “Baily’s Beads” and “diamond ring” effects. Unfortunately, they also occur immediately before and after when the danger is the highest. The sun can shine directly into the eyes or camera of a viewer and, with his pupils enlarged by the eclipse’s ambient darkness, he might permanently lose his vision.
This technique obviously carries with it a significant degree of risk. If the photographer removes the filter too early, he risks looking directly at the sun and permanently damaging his retinas or his camera equipment, necessitating the purchase of an entirely new solar photography kit. If he replaces the filter too late, the same damage could occur. In neither case would he feel the damage to his eyes until it was too late, because the retinas contain no nerve endings to communicate to the brain that damage is being done. It’s no exaggeration to say that it takes a significant degree of bravery and risk to bring the image of a solar eclipse to a stamp near you.
When Is the Next Total Solar Eclipse?
April 8, 2024, is the next time we’ll be able to enjoy the spectacle of a total solar eclipse. Certain parts of Mexico, the USA, and Canada will be lucky enough to be in the path of totality. Whether or not the clouds will part and the weather cooperate are questions yet to be determined, but we can all cross our fingers and hope.
You’ll want to prepare your camera and other electronics, as well as yourself, with plenty of time to spare before the eclipse itself. You should purchase a solar filter or a pair of solar eclipse glasses if you want to view the event live. In the meantime, you’ll need to make do with some solar eclipse stamps.
A Word of Advice for Solar Eclipse Stamps
Before you proceed with the purchase of solar eclipse stamps, you’ll want to make sure that they’re official and issued by the United States Postal Service. Counterfeit stamp makers do exist, and their wares are difficult to spot. Look for the USPS logo on the sheets you purchase, and keep an eye out for that same logo when you’re buying them online.
A solar eclipse can be one of the most breathtaking natural experiences a person sees in their life. But enjoying it properly, and without suffering permanent damage, requires a significant degree of preparation and care (remember to use special solar eclipse glasses). The purchase of solar eclipse stamps can allow one to enjoy the spectacle that is a solar eclipse without endangering your eyes or your cameras.
Our full-throated recommendation goes to the Exploring the Solar System solar eclipse stamps. There’s a good reason they won our Editors Choice award. They’re a beautiful solution if you’re looking for something to send to one of your loved ones or collect something that will stand the test of time. But if you’re more value oriented, you may wish to go with the 2017 Solar Eclipse (#5211) stamps.
Once you’ve decided on a solar eclipse stamp, you’re ready to go. You can collect them or use them to your heart’s content. (Looking for more cool solar eclipse products? Check out these great solar eclipse t-shirts!)