The images were taken by Webb’s two instruments, including MIRI, which was built and managed through launch by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The U.S. Postal Service has issued two new Priority Mail stamps celebrating NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most powerful, and most complex telescope ever put in space. The stamps, issued on January 22, feature images of the cosmos captured by Webb since it began its science mission in 2022. Webb is a mission led by NASA in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
“NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the perfect intersection of science, engineering, and art as it reveals the greatest secrets of our cosmos through the beautiful images it captures,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With these stamps, people across the country can have their own snapshot of Webb’s captivating images – and the incredible science they represent – at their fingertips, and know that they, too, are part of this ground-breaking new era in astronomy.”
The first of the new stamps, a Priority Mail Express stamp, features Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image of the “Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula, located roughly 7,600 light-years away. The image shows emerging stellar nurseries and individual stars that were previously hidden from sight. This scene was one of the first full-color images revealed from Webb in July 2022, demonstrating the telescope’s ability to peer through cosmic dust and shed new light on how stars form.
The other stamp, a Priority Mail stamp, features an image of the Pillars of Creation captured by Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). Webb’s look at this familiar landscape, which was first made famous by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, shows pillars flush with gas and dust, enshrouding stars that are slowly forming over many millennia. The Pillars of Creation is set within the vast Eagle Nebula, which lies 6,500 light-years away.
These new stamps join a Forever stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2022, featuring an artist’s digital illustration of Webb against a background of stars.
The U.S. Postal Service stamps honor Webb’s achievements as it continues its mission to explore the unknown in our universe and study every phase in cosmic history. Webb has already pulled back the curtain on some of the farthest galaxies, stars, and black holes ever observed; solved a longstanding mystery about the early universe; given us a more detailed look at the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system than ever before; and offered new views and insights into our own cosmic backyard.