Research

The Exploratorium / NASA

Tens of thousands of people will watch the total solar eclipse in Idaho on August 21, and some of them will be taking part in a citizen science experiment.

The Citizen Continental-America Telescope Eclipse Experiment, or CATE for short, is a project by the National Solar Observatory. Using special telescopes, the plan is to record the eclipse at more than 68 different sites, including three in Idaho.

Mary Esch / AP Photo

A new statewide Community Assessment has some dramatic findings, especially for Idaho kids.

The United Way of Treasure Valley released their latest Community Assessment Thursday. Conducted every three years, the research is a snapshot of local issues, from health to education to financial stability.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A group of researchers, led by Boise State University, picked up $1.7 million Monday to study how climate change affects birds.

The grant comes from the Department of Defense. Led by BSU biological sciences professor Julie Heath, the team will use some of the money to study how climate change is affecting the migration of American kestrels, North America’s smallest falcon species.

Tim Bartholomaus / University of Idaho

An Idaho scientist is part of a team looking at Greenland’s ice sheet. It’s the Earth’s second-largest ice sheet and it’s melting, contributing to a rise in sea levels around the globe. The team’s goal was to figure out which glaciers to watch to predict how the sea level will respond in the future.

When University of Idaho geography professor Tim Bartholomaus started studying glaciers in Greenland for NASA, he thought they would be boring.

“That they’d all be the same, they just sit there, maybe they move a little bit, they melt, how interesting could this be?” he asked.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University professor Jodi Brandt learned quickly after she moved to Boise a little more than a year ago that Treasure Valley residents are concerned about recent shifts in land use, as more farms are sold and turned into housing developments. Along with a team at Boise State, Brandt is building a map to chart and project these changes.

Brittney Tatchell

The ancient bones of the Kennewick Man have been returned to the ground.

The Tri-City Herald reports that early Saturday, more than 200 members of five Columbia Plateau tribes and bands gathered at an undisclosed location to lay the remains of the man they call the Ancient One to rest. That's according to an announcement Sunday by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Pat Joyce / Flickr

Researchers at Idaho State University have programmed drones to be able to identify potatoes infected with a virus.

Researchers say they've been able to find individual plants infected with potato virus Y, commonly called PVY, with 90 percent accuracy using cameras mounted on drones, The Capital Press reported Friday.

Jim and Holly Akenson

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area is a step back in time. The area is rough and rugged and few people actually live in this part of central Idaho’s backcountry.

But tucked into the middle of these sprawling public lands is the University of Idaho’s wilderness research station, known as Taylor Ranch. From there, researchers conduct surveys on everything from wolves to bears to cougars to wildfires.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Imagine if Jupiter drifted so close to the sun its atmosphere was burned away and the rocky core that was left orbited our star every three or four hours. Boise State University is leading a group of researchers looking at scenarios like this one in other solar systems.

Using a $166,000 grant from NASA, scientists led by BSU will try to figure out where these exoplanets, which closely hug their host stars, come from.

More than 100 of these ultra-short-period planets have been found, but it’s not clear how they got so close to their stars.

Diane Simmons

A new book chronicles the bizarre true story of a Boise woman who became the victim of a bigamist who traveled around the West after World War II. The man, it seems, had a penchant for marrying, and then leaving, young women.

Lanny McAden / University of Idaho

After police in Ferguson, Mo., used armored vehicles during protests two years ago, researchers at the University of Idaho began looking into the distribution of military equipment to police departments.

Their recently released study looks at what’s called the 1033 program between 2006-2013. The program transfers excess military equipment to local police agencies for free, including Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, better known as MRAPs.

Terrie Williams is the author of The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species. The book, which was Boise State’s Campus Read in the 2014/2015 academic year, tells the story of a monk seal pup who was abandoned on a sandy Hawaiian beach in 2008, and who went on to capture the hearts of locals and tourists alike. When local fishermen objected to the seal’s presence on the beach, officials made an unprecedented decision to move him across the ocean to the lab of Ms. Williams, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Ian Robertson / Boise State University

A small, flowering plant that grows only in southwest Idaho is about to go back on the Endangered Species List. Slickspot Peppergrass has been there before, in 2009, but its status as “threatened” was challenged by Governor Butch Otter.

After years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to put it back on the list next month.

Slickspot Peppergrass is a hairy green plant with white flowers, and is found in just a few areas of southwest Idaho.

gray wolf, wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

A Boise State academic is studying what it takes for humans and large carnivores to live together in the same environment.

Neil Carter is an assistant professor at Boise State. His study tries to figure out how humans can successfully coexist with large carnivores, like bears, wolves and tigers.

He found that humans are already adapting to living with animals, as we encroach on their territory. But he also found that the animals are adapting, too, to changes brought by people.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Cornell

Mars is making its closest approach to Earth in over a decade, and one scientist says it’s a great time to learn more about the red planet. Boise State University will hold an astronomical viewing party to celebrate Mars Tuesday night.

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