Total solar eclipse – an exciting phenomenon marked with a new stamp issue

March 24th, 2015 is glad to inform that Faroe Islands Post has released a special set of stamps to mark an exciting event – Total solar eclipse. The issue that consists of two items was unveiled and put into circulation on the 11th of March.

The Moon orbits Earth and Earth revolves around the Sun. The moon completes its orbit around Earth in just under a month, thus passing between Earth and the Sun 12-13 times a year. This phase is called the new moon. If the Moon is right in front of the Sun in this phase, we have a total solar eclipse. Generally, however, the Moon passes either above the Sun or below the Sun, because the Moon's orbit around Earth is not in the ecliptic, which is Earth's orbit around the Sun.

The first new moon in 2015 occurs on January 20, the second on February 19, the third on March 20 etc. The twelfth and last new moon in 2015 is on the 11th of December. On March 20 the Moon will in fact pass right in front of the Sun in a shadow zone, which is rapidly moving up The North Atlantic Ocean west of the Faroe Islands. Therefore, the solar eclipse on March 20, 2015 will be total in the Faroe Islands. The shadow zone is only a few hundred kilometres wide, which means that you must be in that zone if you want to experience the total eclipse. Outside the total shadow zone, you can experience a partial eclipse in a much larger area thousands of kilometres wide.

On the Faroese stamps, which commemorate the total solar eclipse, the artist uses his artistic freedom to draw the sun east of Nólsoy as seen from Tórshavn. This island is located to the east just outside the Faroese capital. Like a giant breakwater, it protects the city against the big ocean waves. In reality however, the Sun will be visible farther south during the eclipse.