The scientist behind the eclipse stamp

WTVG - The U.S Postal Service has issued a very special stamp to commemorate the eclipse. The photos on the stamp were captured by a man known as Mr. Eclipse who earned his master's degree at the University of Toledo.

USPS Eclipse stamp

Watching the eclipse in 1970 inspired his career. His career inspired a first of its kind us postage stamp. The stamp uses thermo-chromic ink. The heat of your finger changes the image from sun to moon. It’s the first time ever the USPS has used this kind of technology on a stamp.

Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse, provided dozens of photos for the stamp. "It's one that i shot in Libya in 2006. it's actually a composite of 21 separate photographs combined in a computer to bring out subtle details in the sun's corona."

Espenak saw his first ecplise at 16 in 1970 and he was hooked. "After the eclipse was over it just bowled me over. it was so spectacular. i knew this could not be my last eclipse. i had to see another one."

Espenak was a NASA scientist for 31 years and has photographed eclipses his entire career. He has this advice if you want to try. "Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. practice exactly what you're going to do so you don't have to think about it."

He also said if things go wrong with your camera. put it down. “If anything goes wrong you have to step back and leave it go because you don’t want to miss the eclipse because you’re so consumed with operating cameras.”

And though he's seen twenty eclipses it never gets old. "It's still exciting. no matter how many times you've seen the event. Because of the rarity. Because of the rarity and because of the beauty of the sun's corona."

Mr. eclipse will be watching the event from where-ever he can have the best weather to photograph the totality - probably somewhere in Wyoming. When it's done he'll look towards the horizon and Chili -- for an eclipse in 2019. The man who's spent his life hooked on the shadow doesn't plan to let the sun set on his passion. “I always say it’s the closest thing any of us will ever come to being an astronaut.”