Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Here's another thing you may want to get to commemorate the big eclipse that's coming to the Midlands in August.
Starting Tuesday, June 20, the post office begins selling the new stamp. And this no ordinary stamp, either: it actually changes from an image of the solar eclipse into the moon with the heat of a finger.
The pane of 16 Forever stamps are available at Post Office facilities nationwide.
A total eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon completely blocks the visible solar disk from view, casting a shadow on Earth. On August 21, the 70-mile-wide shadow path of the eclipse, known as the “path of totality,” will traverse the country diagonally, appearing first in Oregon (mid-morning local time) and exiting some 2,500 miles east and 90 minutes later off the coast of South Carolina (mid-afternoon local time) passing through portions of 14 states.
Columbia will be an area that sees the total eclipse for the longest period of time.
A total solar eclipse provides us with the only chance to see the Sun’s corona — its extended outer atmosphere — without specialized instruments. During the total phase of an eclipse the corona appears as a gossamer white halo around the black disk of the Moon, resembling the petals of a flower reaching out into space.
Tens of millions of people in the United States hope to view this rare event, which has not been seen on the U.S. mainland since 1979. The eclipse will travel a narrow path across the entire country for the first time since 1918. The back of the stamp pane provides a map of the August 21 eclipse path and times it may appear in some locations.
This stamp image is a photograph taken by retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak of Portal, AZ, who is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on total solar eclipses with 27 under his belt. The photograph shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006.