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US Post Office releases thermo-chromic ‘eclipse stamp’ before ‘Great American’ event

The US Postal Service is issuing a unique stamp in honor of this summer’s total solar eclipse.  The stamp is being released Tuesday. It’s a photo of a total solar eclipse captured in Libya more than a decade ago.

This is the first stamp to use what’s called thermo-chromic ink. When your finger touches the stamp when it’s black, the image changes to the moon one on the right. Once the stamp cools, the black eclipse returns.

The next real total solar eclipse is expected to happen August 21st.    For a swath of the country from Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, it will look like someone just turned off the sun in the middle of the day.  St. Louis falls in the path of the eclipse. Even if you live elsewhere in North America, a portion of the sun will partially disappear near midday.

It is being called the “Great American Eclipse.” And you can mark it on your calendar, down to the millisecond.

It’s been 99 years since a total solar eclipse crossed the country from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The total solar eclipse on June 8, 1918, crossed from Washington to Florida.

During the celestial event, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth, appearing to block the sun for almost an hour and a half. You can replicate an eclipse by holding a flashlight and waving your hand slowly across it.

When the moon blocks the sun, it will cast two types of shadows. The umbral is the small shadow cast on Earth where people will be able to see a total eclipse. Others will experience the penumbral shadow, where they will experience a partial eclipse.

Salem, Oregon, will be one of the first towns to see the total eclipse, while Charleston will be one of the last.

Kansas City, Nashville and St. Louis are some of the cities that will have a good chance of seeing the sun totally covered.

Space enthusiasts are already starting to get excited about the eclipse and some, like us, are counting down the days. Many are booking hotels for the big moment, while others have had their rooms booked for years.

The real question is, have you figured out where you will be on August 21?