14/03/2013 General, France, Colonies & Dependencies
The International Year of the Quiet Sun (IQSY) was an international scientific effort to study the sun and the other planets in the solar system during the years of 1964 and 1965, at a time of the lowest activity in the sun's 11 year cycle, with observations being made from both terrestial observatories and by spacecraft.
A series of stamps were issued between the years 1963 and 1966 to celebrate the event by around 25 different countries, with French Southern & Antarctic Territories (usually known as "TAAF" for the abreviation in French) 20fr Postage and 100fr Air stamps being the first of these stamps to be issued in 1963.
The 100fr Air is a truly iconic stamp with a magnificent vertical design by Pierre Bequet showing a series of pylons at an antarctic station with a family of Adelie Penguins standing to one side watching the Sun, which is shown as the IQSY standard logo.
Adelie Penguins can be found in well over 30 large colonies in the Ross Sea area and on the Antarctic continental coastline. They are medium sized for penguins and have the distinctive cute appearance with their black and white plumage usually associated with these lovable seabirds. They were named by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville in honour of his wife, Adele.
The French Southern & Antarctic Territories (TAAF) was established in 1955 and includes the Kerguelen Islands, St Paul & Amsterdam Islands, Crozet Islands, the Scattered Islands (around the coast of Madagascar), and Adelie Land, on the main Antarctica continent. Stamps were first issued in 1955 with an overprint on Madagascar, and are especially known for their beautiful designs with many featuring the rich native wildlife, explorers, and their ships.