For thousands of years, solar eclipses have been viewed as omens that bring about destruction and death. There's even a scene in the movie "Apocalypto" wherein the main protagonist was spared from being offered to the gods because they saw a total solar eclipse.
Total solar eclipses are specifically rare. It happens when the moon passes by between the sun and the earth, consequently completely blocking the sun's light to the planet. The moon then casts a shadow that moves across the earth's surface in what's called a "path of totality."
And as uncommon as it may seem, this phenomenon will finally happen again for the first time since 1979! So, people on the continental U.S., be ready for you will be experiencing this on Monday, August 21! The eclipse will have a 67-mile-wide "path of totality", travelling eastward from the state of Oregon, all the way to South Carolina. So if you live somewhere in that area, you'll be seeing the eclipse for approximately two minutes. And to celebrate this event, the US Postal Service will be releasing a heat-reactive commemorative stamp! How cool is that?
Printed using thermochromic ink (an ink that changes color when temperatures increase or decrease), this stamp will react when you rub it with your fingers and changes from an image of a total solar eclipse to an image of the moon. Also, the back of the stamp has a map of where the eclipse will be best viewed.
”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," said the Postal Service in a statement.
Not only does it add to your stamp collection, you'd also get to see one of the universe's marvels. Just be sure to use the right protection, okay? (I meant for your eyes!)
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