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UI Experts Offer Perspectives on Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse

July 31, 2017

University of Idaho experts in natural resources, planetary science, physics and literature are available to speak to media about the scientific, educational and cultural impacts of this summer’s rare solar eclipse.

University Communications & Marketing has collected articles about UI research projects around the eclipse, a Q&A with UI physicists, as well as historic articles, safety information, and a link to the map created by a UI faculty member predicting the probability of clear skies during the event. Access the content at

The University of Idaho is home to the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, which has funded several research efforts around the eclipse, including a high-altitude ballooning project by Moscow High School students that will be part of a livestream of the event.

To arrange an interview with one of UI’s experts, please contact Brad Gary at or 208-885-7725.

Experts available to speak to the media include:

  • Matthew Hedman, Physics: Hedman is an expert in astronomy and planetary science and is a participant on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn. He and his student researchers focus primarily on studying Saturn’s rings. He is available to discuss eclipse science and safety, and the research opportunities eclipses provide.

  • Jason Barnes, Physics: Barnes studies the physics of planets and planetary systems. He uses NASA spacecraft data to study planets that orbit stars other than the sun (extrasolar planets) and the composition and nature of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. He also is a participant in the Cassini mission. He is available to discuss eclipse science and safety, and the research opportunities eclipses provide.

  • Luigi Boschetti, Natural Resources and Society: Boschetti is an associate professor of remote sensing and an expert on using GPS technology. He recently created a map showing the probability of clear skies during this summer’s eclipse. He is available to discuss the clear skies map and viewing locations for the eclipse.

  • Susie Johnson, Idaho Space Grant Consortium: As the program manager for the Idaho Space Grant Consortium based at the University of Idaho, Susie Johnson connects students, faculty and researchers statewide with NASA resources and opportunities, and each other. The ISGC connects students with internships and provides funding opportunities for research projects. She is available to discuss the role the ISGC has played in funding eclipse projects.

  • Leslie Baker, Geological Sciences: Baker is a planetary scientist who is active in educational outreach and STEM learning experiences. Her research projects include studying minerals on Earth to discover how similar elements are formed on other plants. She is available to discuss eclipse safety and science, as well as how to use this event as an educational tool.

  • Jordan Wixom, Idaho Space Grant Consortium: Wixom is ISGC’s eclipse coordinator, and assists with scheduling presentations and distributing information and resources, such as eclipse glasses, to the public.

  • Scott Slovic, English: Slovic is an expert on the work of Annie Dillard, who wrote the 1982 essay “Total Eclipse.” He wrote about Dillard in his 1992 book “Seeking Awareness in American Nature." He is available to speak about the literary responses to eclipses and their cultural impact.

Media Contacts
Brad Gary
Communications Coordinator
University Communications & Marketing

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more: