Solar eclipse watchers from Oregon to Idaho will likely have the best view of the Aug. 21 event along the path of totality, based on a map created using NASA Earth satellite data.
NASA’s Earth Observatory created two maps showing conditions people can expect, from cloudy sky to clear using observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, sensor on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.
The map shows the swath along the path of total eclipse, where the sun will be fully covered, in blue ranging from deep to light. Areas covered in dark blue are likely to have clearer skies;, the areas in white could experience cloud cover. The sensor also factored in haze or smoke.
University of Idaho College of Natural Resources also created a heat-intensity map of clear sky probabilities.
Conditions dramatically improve from Jackson, Wyoming, going northwest into Idaho and ending in Salem, Oregon, according to the data collected from Aug. 21, 2000 and 2016.
Scientists and amateur astronomers have been using NASA data to plan their eclipse trips for years.
Eastern parts of the Pacific Northwest all benefit from the Cascade Range forcing moist air up, over the mountains, according to NASA.
A second map, also created MODIS data, shows the part of the sun that will be covered and the amount of cloud cover in each location across the United States. Large blue hexagons mark the cities with the best viewing conditions.
The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible for a vast majority of the United States will be almost 100 years from now.