Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

The Sky at Night - 13 February 2007

In April 1957, the very first Sky at Night programme was broadcast by BBC Television. It was introduced by (Sir) Patrick Moore, who has been presenting the programme ever since. On the BBC Sky at Night website, Sir Patrick writes:

"I am often asked why The Sky at Night has lasted for so long, and will, we hope, last for a long time yet. There are, I think, several reasons. The most important is that the sky is all around us, and surely there can be nobody who can avoid taking at least a passing interest.

"Secondly, astronomy is one of the few sciences in which the amateur can play a really useful role. Amateurs carry out work which professionals have no time to do, have no wish to do, or cannot do. For example, amateurs have always been to the fore in discovering comets and novae, hunting for supernovae, and monitoring events happening on the planets.

"The third reason is that The Sky at Night is non-controversial, goes out late, is unlike any other regular programme, and has a faithful following. This means that as far as the BBC's planners are concerned, it is nobody's enemy."

These are the first British stamps to be issued with a description on the reverse of the backing paper. Each value is printed in sheets of 30, 15 of each design. The images show the reverse and the stamp designs.
Column 2
Column 1
Column 1
Column 2
The Saturn Nebula and The Eskimo Nebula 1st class stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of BBC Television programme, The Sky at Night.
The Saturn Nebula and The Eskimo Nebula 1st class stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of BBC Television programme, The Sky at Night.
The Saturn Nebula and The Eskimo Nebula 1st class stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of BBC Television programme, The Sky at Night.

History and details of the nebulae pictured

1st Class - Saturn Nebula C55
A favourite of amateur astronomers named after the Saturn-like shape of the nebula. Discovered by William Herschel in 1782 the Saturn Nebula is about 1400 light-years from the Sun and can be found in the constellation of Aquarius.

1st Class - Eskimo Nebula C39
A planetary nebula with a bright central star that has been likened to a face peering out of fur lined parka. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787 the Eskimo Nebula is about 4000 light-years from the Sun and can be found in the constellation of Gemini.

50p - Cat's Eye Nebula C6
A bright and complex planetary nebula, with a bright central star forming the glint in the cat's eye. Discovered by William Herschel in 1786 the Cat's Eye Nebula is about 3000 light-years from the Sun and can be found in the constellation of Draco

50p - Helix Nebula C63
Easily seen with binoculars, the apparent helical structure gives it its name. Its central star is a very hot dwarf. At 450 light-years from the Sun it is the closest nebula to the Earth and can be found in the constellation of Aquarius.

72p - Flaming Star Nebula C31
The distinctive purple colour of the nebula is caused by ionising radiation from the Flaming Star, AE Aurigae, a runaway star from the Orion Nebula. The Flaming Star Nebula is 1600 light-years from the Sun and can be found in the constellation of Auriga.

72p - The Spindle C53
A lenticular galaxy with a bright nucleus, the Spindle contains a black hole that is about one billion times as massive as the Sun. Visible with powerful binoculars the Spindle is 32 million light-years from the Sun near the constellation of Sextans.

Technical details:

The 32x30mm stamps are designed by Dick Davies. Self-adhesive stamps in sheets of 30/60 of each value* are printed in gravure by Walsall Security Printers. (*They cannot truly be described as se-tenant because they are self-adhesive.) The backing paper is printed with information about the subjects of the stamps.
All images except Norvic FDCs are Copyright Royal Mail 2006/07.

Photography details as provided by Royal Mail:
- 1st Class: B Balick(U Washington) et al,WFPC2, HST, NASA.
- 1st: NASA, Andrew Fruchter and the ERO Team, Sylvia Baggett (STScl), Richard Hook (ST-ECF), Zoltan Levay (STScl).
- 50p: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA), R.Corradi (Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Spain) and Z. Tsvetanov (NASA).
- 50p: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M Meixner (STScl), and T.A. Rector (NRAO).
- 72p: Robert Gendler.
- 72p: John Kormendy, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Norvic Exclusive First Day Cover

Our limited edition FDC for these stamps shows the Orion Nebula M42 and will be available with a choice of two postmarks. The covers are priced at 8.95 each.

Norvic FDC for Sky at Night stamp set issued 13 February 2007.

Royal Mail presentation pack for Sky at Night stamps. Products issued:
Mint set of 6
Presentation Pack
Royal Mail FDCs 
Set of 6 Stamp Cards unused 

Royal Mail first day cover for Sky at Night stamps.

Royal Mail FDC and part of Presentation Pack


Special Postmarks
Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown below - these may not be to scale. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.

postmark showing Saturn and stars on television screen. postmark showing telescope. non-pictorial postmark 13 February 2007. postmark showing planet and stars. postmark showing astronomical telescope.
Ref FD705
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark
Ref FD706
Star, Glenrothes, Official Postmark
Ref FD706NP
Star, Glenrothes, Official non-pictorial Postmark
Ref N10390
50 Years of the Television Programme The Sky at Night GBFDC Association, Moore, Warrington
Ref N10387
Sky at Night, Macclesfield
postmark showing British Astronomical Association logo. postmark showing telescope. postmark showing astronomical telescope. postmark showing badge of Liverpool Astronomical Society. postmark showing badge of West Yorkshire Astronomical Society.
Ref L10380
British Astronomical Association, London
Ref L10379
Sky at Night, Pinner, Middlesex
Ref N10391
50th anniversary of Sputnik, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield
Ref N10389
The Sky at Night, Liverpool Astronomical Society, Rex Hill Observatory, Widnes
Ref N10388
West Yorkshire Astronomical Society, Pontefract
postmark showing horsehead nebula. postmark showing telescope. postmark showing telescope & stars. postmark showing Hubble telescope. postmark showing the planet saturn.
Ref L10381
Sky at Night, Pinner, Middlesex
Ref M10359
The Sky at Night, Moore Crescent, Birmingham
Ref L10326
50th Anniv. of The Sky at Night, Greenwich London SE16
Ref S10392
Sky at Night, Star, Glenrothes, Fife
Ref W10393
The Sky at Night, Delabole (Cornwall)
postmark with text as below. postmark showing telescope and text as below. postmark showing the star formation of The Plough (Ursa Major).
Ref L10399
Good Heavens Above, The Sky at Night, Flaming Star Nebula London W9
Ref L10400
The Seven Sisters Cluster, The Sky at Night, Selsey Sussex
Ref M10406
The North Star, Northampton

If you have any questions about these stamps please email us.
NB: all emails will be acknowledged in 1-2 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement please email us from a different address (eg hotmail, gmail).

This page updated 23 May 2007

2007 stamp issues
Visit our online shop!
The Beatles
16 Definitive LOVE booklet
Sealife of the British Coast
13 The Sky at Night
World of Invention
1 Glorious Wales Smiler Sheet
22 Abolition of the Slave Trade
27 Definitive & Country stamps
Celebrating England miniature sheet and Glorious England Smilers Sheet
Beside the Seaside
17 Wembley Stadium MS and Smilers
Machins 40th Anniversary miniature sheetPSB, & Smilers
Motor racing Grand Prix
17 Harry Potter books
26 Centenary of Scouting (Europa)
Endangered Species - birds
20 British Military Uniforms (I)
60th Wedding Anniversary of HM the Queen
8 Lest We Forget
30 Glorious Scotland Smilers

2008 programme


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