WHERE WILL YOU BE ON AUG. 21, 2017? The Great American Solar Eclipse is less than two months away. Do you know where you will be? The map below shows the path of totality (the narrow zone where the Moon completely covers the sun) overlaid on a statistical map of cloudiness for the month of August. The best places to be are blue:Jay Anderson and colleague Jennifer West made the map based on data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. It shows that people in western states, where fractional cloud cover dips as low as 15%, are most likely to witness the precious two and a half minutes of totality. Overcast is more of a problem east of Missouri. As the Moon's shadow approaches the Atlantic Coast of the USA, there is a better than 50% chance that it will be hitting the tops of clouds instead of the landscape below.
Pushpins in the map show confirmed launch sites for the our Solar Eclipse Balloon Network. Using space weather balloons, teams of student researchers will launch cameras to the stratosphere for a unique view of the eclipse high above any obscuring clouds. There's more to their mission, however, than photography: Each balloon will also be equipped with an array of cosmic ray sensors. By the time the eclipse is finished, we will have gained a snapshot of how deep-space radiation is penetrating Earth's atmosphere across the entirety of North America. Want to join us? Click here.