Trace the route of the August 2017 solar eclipse
There’s a lot of excitement over the solar eclipse set to pass through much of southern Idaho this summer, and now the United States Postal Service is getting in on it.
On Monday, USPS announced it would debut a special forever stamp: “Total Eclipse of the Sun.” The postage stickers are printed with thermochromatic ink, letting snail mailers and stamp enthusiasts change the front image with the swipe of a finger.
Initially, the stamps bear an image of the solar eclipse — what appears as just a dark circle atop a background of white swirls, the sun’s outer atmosphere. But apply a bit of heat, and the dark circle gives way to a photograph of the moon taken by former NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak.
It’s the first time the USPS has used the heat-responsive ink in stamps, and the Postal Service warned that the stamps can be damaged by UV light.
The special-edition stamps come in a pane of 16 that shows a map of the United States and the path of totality for the eclipse, the 70-mile-wide stripe of the moon’s shadow.
Postal Service spokesman Jim Cochrane touted the stamps as a chance for people to “experience their own personal solar eclipse every time they touch the stamps.” (If that’s not enough of a thrill for you, check out this article for all the details on where to watch the August eclipse in Idaho.)