A total eclipse thermochromic stamp that changes when you touch it

The August 21 eclipse is being commemorated by the US Postal Service with a new stamp printed with thermochromic ink; when you rub the stamp the image transforms from an image of the 2006 total eclipse as shot from Jalu, Libya, to a photo of the full moon, both taken by Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ.

In the first U.S. stamp application of thermochromic ink, the Total Solar Eclipse stamps will reveal a second image. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon (Espenak also took the photograph of the Full Moon). The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.

Thermochromic inks are vulnerable to UV light and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible to preserve this special effect. To help ensure longevity, the Postal Service will be offering a special envelope to hold and protect the stamp pane for a nominal fee.

Total Eclipse of the Sun to be commemorated on a Forever Stamp [USPS]

(via Kottke)