Over the past several months it has been my pleasure to work with Russel Watson of the Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau, assisting in several design elements and providing technical information and graphics, for a special three-stamp issue, and First Day Cover (FDC), commemorating the 08 April 2005 total solar eclipse near Oeno Island.  I understand that Fred Espenak assisted in this effort as well. The Bureau has now finalized the design of the stamps, and the cover, as shown above.  

Click to view the:
I have been greatly impressed with the desire by Mr. Watson to both make sure the issue is phenomeneologically and astronomically correct, but not at the expense of a wonderful graphic depiction, which I believe they have achieved.  The stamps and FDC, according to information being released by the Bureau, will be available for sale starting on the day of the eclipse.  You can see here a COPY OF THE BUREAU's RELEASE soon to be distributed (I have suggested a clarifying rewording in the second sentence, but I am sure you will get the full intent). This, unfortunately, will be  too late for those on the two eclipse-chasing cruise ships headed for Pitcairn before the eclipse. However, Mr. Watson has advised me that he will endeavor to have stamps and covers available on the ships for sale after the eclipse, as he wrote in a very recent correspondence:"I fully intend to try and get the stamps etc onto  the ships either when (or if) they call at Pitcairn or else by giving them  to the Captains who will be instructed to only sell them on Eclipse day and  not before. They will be available on April 8 if I can make this happen".

FYI - I have no connection with the distribution or sale of these stamps or the First Day Cover, and those interested should contact the Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau at: stamps@pitcairn.gov.pn.  I would hasten to offer my opinion, however, that I think they have done a spectacular job.  

Some may recognize the images on the stamps originating from my TSE 2002/Australia imagery but geometrically corrected to remove the oblateness which arose from the low altitude of that eclipse.  The images selected were taken just prior to and after Contact III from TSE2002/Australia, also of small lunar angular size w.r.t. the Sun, to represent in approximation the phenomena which would be seen off-shore from Oeno near the Southern limit of the path of totality.  With some artistic license, the stamp graphic designer created a "hybrid image" (no pun intended) on the $3.00 stamp incorporating a depiction of prominences inspired by Fred Espenaks Baily's Bead sequence from TSE 1995 into the post 3rd contact image of TSE 2002.

The image of Oeno island on the Cover is a wonderful graphical depiction which you can see very closely matches orbital imagery obtained  from the International Space Station, as I have posted on my web site on, and linked with additional imagery and information about Oeno on: http://nicmosis.as.arizona.edu:8000/ECLIPSE_WEB/ECLIPSE_05/TSE2005.html.

Some may also be interested in (non-eclipse) stamps previously issued by the Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau depicting Oeno Island:
So, after TSE 2005, we'll not only have something to write home about - but a great way to convey our correspondence about it!

Glenn Schneider, Last Update: 21 Feb 2005