Here Comes the Total Solar Eclipse

Here comes the total solar eclipse– Monday, August 21, 2017.

“People travel all over the world to see solar eclipses, and this one will happen right here in our area,” University of Idaho Department of Physics Professor Jason Barnes said. “It’s not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it’s close.”

In Moscow a partial eclipse begins at 9:12 a.m. The maximum eclipse will be at 10:27 a.m. The partial eclipse will end at about 11:47 a.m.

“What’s remarkable is that the sun and the moon are almost the same size as seen from Earth,” UI Physics Professor Matt Hedman said. “The eccentricity of the moon’s orbit means that the moon’s distance to Earth goes up and down by about 5 percent. And that 5 percent is enough to change from not quite covering the sun to just barely more than covering the sun, a total eclipse. But since it is only just barely covering the sun’s disk, it allows us to see the sun’s corona.”

The ‘Path of Totality’ runs right through Idaho.

“Several places in Idaho – Weiser, Cascade, Idaho Falls, Rexburg – lie inside the band of totality,” Barnes said. “But everyone in the state will see a large part of the sun obscured. It will be 94% covered from Moscow and 98 to 99% covered from Boise. It’s 59% even in Maine – over 50% of the sun will be covered from every location in the continental US.”

Researchers from the UI College of Natural Resources developed a map that shows the likelihood of clear viewing of the solar eclipse coming Monday.  The map was developed using 16 years of satellite observations from the MODIS sensor onboard NASA’s Terra Satellite.


Safe viewing tips from NASA Goddard:

The challenge of the August 21 date for Idaho fire managers and land managers is that it is in the middle of wildfire season. Resources have been deployed in the event of a wildfire, but the Idaho Transportation Department offered these tips:

  1. Before leaving, look under your car and check for hanging parts. Mufflers often get knocked loose and can hang low to the ground.
  2. If you are towing a trailer or camper, ensure safety chains are fastened and not dragging.
  3. Don’t drive or park on tall grass.  Contact with dry grass can easily start a fire.
  4. Don’t throw out lit cigarettes.

Posted August 19, 2017.



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