Science

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.

Every once in a while, you come across individuals who make you feel better just for having encountered them. As today’s guest, David Brooks, puts it, “They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.”

Terry McCombs / Flickr Creative Commons

A state committee has made another attempt to break a deadlock over addressing climate change in Idaho classrooms.

But the last word in this three-year controversy belongs to Idaho lawmakers — who removed references to climate change from state science standards earlier this year.

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.

Idaho March for Science Facebook

Thousands plan to attend the national March for Science that takes place Saturday in Washington D.C. In Boise, Austin Hopkins is one of the people planning an Idaho version of the march.

Hopkins -- who is with Idaho Conservation League -- hopes Saturday’s march furthers a dialogue between politics and science in Idaho.

In our complex and data driven world, scientists are facing a major challenge to understand and document plant and animal species that may be in the process of disappearing. Climate change, habitat fragmentation, pollution and population growth are among the threats that are pushing some species toward extinction.

Wildfire,
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Firestorms are a particularly terrifying – and largely unknown – phenomenon. The naturally occurring events happen during megafires, when a wildfire burns so hot and so fiercely that surrounding air is drawn in, creating powerful winds that remove moisture from nearby fuel – increasing the already extreme fire risk.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

Scientists from Boise State University and the University of Washington are studying a newly found group of planets around a nearby star. They’ll talk about their research Friday night in Boise. Turns out, these planets are good candidates for hosting life outside Earth.

What’s it like to be an octopus? Is it anything like being a human? Is it even possible to know?

Google and www.eclipse2017.org

It’s a big deal. That’s what one Boise State University professor says about this summer’s total solar eclipse. He's raising money online to help towns and cities prepare for an influx of people hoping to see the eclipse.

Physics professor Brian Jackson says campsites and hotels are already booked up for August 21 across the eclipse path in Idaho. He says Idaho is centrally located for prime eclipse watching.

Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House panel has approved new K-12 science standards, but only after striking key references to climate change caused by human behavior.

This is the third year the Idaho Legislature has struggled to agree on science standards for public schools. Previous efforts that included references to global warming and the origin of the universe have been rejected by Republicans unhappy that the language didn't offer alternative views.

NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory

Next August, eclipse-chasers will converge in Idaho and a handful of other states to watch the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 38 years. The Boise State Physics Department is getting ready with a special talk Friday.

The last total solar eclipse that crossed the continental U.S. was in 1979 and it crossed over Northern Idaho. This time, the path for best eclipse viewing will travel through the middle of Idaho, just north of Boise.

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.

Idaho Ed News

Idaho students topped the national average in a 2015 standardized science test.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress tested fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders in science — and on Thursday morning, NAEP released state results for fourth and eighth grades. NAEP tests are not given in all schools in Idaho or elsewhere, but are instead administered to a sample of U.S. schools.

The Idaho highlights:

Brad Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

Ross Winton has been spending a lot of time lately catching butterflies in south-central Idaho and putting tiny stickers on their wings. That’s so they can be identified by scientists who see them in other places. But Winton, a biologist with Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, thinks now the last of them may have moved out of state for the season. Winton is part of a regional monarch butterfly study. He says scientists know in great detail where a monarch born in upstate New York or Michigan or Northern California will travel in its life.   

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