The Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse
Tens of millions of individuals are in the viewing path of the upcoming eclipse, which is expected to move across the earth in a path of totality. The 67-mile wide path travels across fourteen states as it moves west to east from Oregon to South Carolina. At any point along the path, viewers can expect to see the total solar eclipse for around 2-minutes. The total solar eclipse is expected to begin sometime in the mid-morning, local time.
What is a Total Solar Eclipse?
The last solar eclipse occurred on February 26, 1979. A solar eclipse occurs in astronomy when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth, obscuring the image of the sun from Earth. A total solar eclipse, which we will see later this year, happens when the diameter of the moon is larger than the sun, creating a complete block of all direct sunlight to Earth. A total solar eclipse causes the day to turn into darkness almost instantly, lasting until the moon passes through.
About the Thermochromic Stamp
The celebration stamp offered by the USPS is printed using thermochromic ink. The ink reacts to body heat when rubbed by a person’s fingers or thumbs. As a result, the image changes from a total solar eclipse to a picture of the moon. Once the picture cools, the image reverts back to normal.
First of Its Kind
The solar eclipse thermochromic ink stamp will be the first of its kind ever released by the USPS. The stamp, which is sent to be released on June 20, 2017, will be a non-denominated 49-cent forever stamp. The stamp will display a photograph of a solar eclipse captured by astrophysicist Fred Espenak. The original image was captured on March 29, 2006, of an eclipse that was seen from Jalu, Libya.
Scheduled Celebration Ceremony
There will be a first-day ceremony at 1:30 P.M. at the University of Wyoming Art Museum on June 20. The celebration of the thermochromic stamp will occur concurrently with the university’s summer solstice celebration. Visitors are encouraged to arrive by 11:30 A.M. in order to witness the single beam of light shine through the silver dollar embedded on the floor of the museum. The single beam of sunlight only shines onto the silver dollar at noon on the summer solstice each year.
For most individuals, this will be the first total solar eclipse they have ever seen — and for some, it may be the only one ever seen in their lifetime. The United States Postal Service released a statement, which highlights millions of individuals are hoping to see this extremely rare event in person. Nevertheless, they can always buy the stamp if the miss the total solar eclipse in person!