Snail mail is cool again with the U.S. Post Office’s color-changing eclipse stamp

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You know that oft-forgotten federal agency that drops junk mail off at your house every day? Well, the U.S. Post Office just became (sorta) cool again with its latest stamp.

In honor of the solar eclipse reveals itself across the United States on Aug. 21 this year, the Post Office is releasing a color-changing stamp that reveals an image of the moon when warmed with body heat. Both the moon and eclipse photos used on the stamp were taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, who photographed a 2006 solar eclipse in Jalu, Libya.

This is the first solar eclipse to touch the U.S. mainland since 1979 and the first to travel the whole width of the country since 1918. People in 14 states will witness the rare event as the moon casts a 70-mile-wide shadow across the country. (Here are some tips on how to watch it without hurting your eyes.)

solar eclipse path Illustration via NASA

While the stamps created to mark the occasion are cool, they do come with a disappointing caveat. The heat-sensitive ink used to print them can be damaged by UV light, so the Post Office is advising people to keep them in a special envelope that can be purchased from the Post Office for a “nominal fee.”

If you plan to collect a few copies of the stamp, that storage solution isn’t a bad idea. But considering they’re priced as regular Forever stamps at the cost of just 49 cents, we suggest you slap one on your mom’s birthday card anyway.

H/T The Verge

Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber is the former editor of Daily Dot’s Parsec section, where she wrote about geek culture. She previously worked as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in the Midwest and was recognized by the Ohio Associated Press for news reporting.