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UI Researchers Show Locations of Clearest Skies for Solar Eclipse

July 18, 2017

Researchers from the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources (CNR) have developed a map that shows the likelihood of clear viewing of the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. This map documents the probability of clear sky based upon location and was developed using 16 years of daily satellite observations from the MODIS sensor onboard the Terra Satellite, which is operated by NASA.

Luigi Boschetti is an associate professor of remote sensing in the department of Natural Resources and Society and Andrea Melchiorre is a doctoral student in CNR who is funded by a NASA Earth System Science Fellowship to assess the impact of clouds on global fire mapping capabilities from satellite. The two adapted methods and the programming code that was developed for Melchiorre’s doctoral dissertation to generate the clear sky probability map.

“There have been many maps created to document the path of the eclipse through the United States and the world,” Boschetti said. “This map is unique because we have added information on the probability of clear skies — meaning how well you will actually be able to see the eclipse from where you are located in the U.S.”

The map shows that viewing conditions in the western U.S. will generally be very good, but will decline as the eclipse path heads east. The map composition was built using publicly available data sources. More information regarding the data sources, a high resolution version of the attached map and Google Earth interactive map versions are available at

Media Contact

Luigi Boschetti, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Natural Resources and Society
College of Natural Resources

Kim Jackson
Marketing and Communications Manager, College of Natural Resources

A map showing the likelihood of clear skies for the 2017 eclipse.

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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, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 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. Learn more at