NASA and the United States Postal Service (USPS) have teamed up on two new Priority Mail stamps that celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST/Webb).
The stamps were issued this week, and one highlights an image from the Carina Nebula, while the second stamp shows the Pillars of Creation as captured by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).
This is not the first time NASA and the USPS have teamed up for Webb-themed postage. In September 2022, the USPS released a 20-stamp sheet of the James Webb Space Telescope. The Forever stamp was available only in 20-stamp sheets and cost $13.60.
The Carina Nebula stamp shows the region’s famous Cosmic Cliffs, located roughly 7,600 light-years away.
“The image shows emerging stellar nurseries and individual stars that were previously hidden from sight,” NASA explains.
The image was one of the first five released by the James Webb Space Telescope team in July 2022, and is also one of the favorite images of Space Telescope and Science Institute image processor Alyssa Pagan, who PetaPixel interviewed alongside her fellow editor Joseph DePasquale. Pagan processed the Carina Nebula image, which Webb shot using its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument. The image is a wise selection for the USPS, as it remains one of the most iconic space photos ever captured.
As for the other stamp, the Pillars of Creation is within the Eagle Nebula located about 6,500 light-years from Earth. It has been showcased in a 122-megapixel NIRCam photo, but the stamp shows the beautiful cosmic structure as seen by Webb’s MIRI camera. It is a much more haunting, dark view on the structure. Scientists have also combined the NIRCam and MIRI views to incredible effect. Both Pagan and DePasquale have worked diligently on Webb’s images of the Pillars of Creation.
Unlike the Forever JWST stamps released in 2022, the USPS has released the two new stamps in Priority Mail size and postage. The Pillars of Creation stamp is a Priority Mail stamp and a set of four costs $39.40. The Cosmic Cliffs version is a Priority Mail Express stamp and a four-pane sheet is $121.80.
These collectible stamps do not come cheap. However, space photography enthusiasts can also get a First Day Cover version of the Pillars of Creation and Cosmic Cliffs stamps for $10.40 and $31, respectively. There are also Digital Color versions available for $11.20 and $31.85. These come with the stamps affixed to an envelope with an official First Day of Issue postmark from Greenbelt, Maryland, the location of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Image credits: The James Webb Space Telescope is a NASA-led mission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The images used on the stamps were provided by NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). The stamps are designed by USPS art director Greg Breeding.