All posts for the month May, 2017

What do “bubbles” and “yellowballs” have to do with star formation? Identified in mid-infrared Galactic plane surveys, these objects are both named for their appearance in infrared wavelengths.

Join the Boise State Physics Department and College of Idaho Prof. Katie Devine on Friday, June 2 at 7:30p to learn about the role they may play in triggering new star formation, and the work being done to explore this role.

The lecture will take place in the Multi-Purpose Classroom Building, room 101. After the lecture (assuming clear weather), we’ll move to the top of the Brady Garage to do some stargazing.

Contact Prof. Brian Jackson ( with questions.

Marionberries, a product of Washington state and not of Washington DC.

Had a nice visit last night with the folks in lovely Garden Valley about an hour’s drive north of Boise at the confluence of the Middle Fork and Payette Rivers. In response to an invitation from the Chamber of Commerce, I gave a short presentation about the solar eclipse at the Crouch Community Hall. The presentation I gave is posted below.

Folks were really engaged and interested, and I was impressed by how thoughtful and forward-thinking everyone was when it came to logistics and planning for the eclipse. The Idaho Board of Tourism expects lots of people to come to Idaho, many of whom will visit or at least pass through Garden Valley, so being prepared for August 21 is key, especially for municipalities with limited resources.

After the talk, my hosts invited me to dinner at the Two Rivers Grill, where we enjoyed a pretty amazing cobbler made from marionberries, a berry I’ve only encountered after moving to the Pacific Northwest. At dinner, my hosts explained that the marionberry was developed by Oregon State University via crossbreeding between a smaller, flavorful Chehalem blackberry and a larger, better-producing Olallie blackberry in the mid-1950s.

Little Camas reservoir south of Arco

As part of our statewide eclipse tour, this week I visited the town of Arco, perched on the margin of one of the youngest extinct lava flows in the world, the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The blocky a’a flows in Craters resembles the surface of the Moon so closely that Apollo astronauts trained there in the 1960s. Arco itself has a very interesting history as the first town in the world light entirely by nuclear power.

During my visit, I spoke with hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students. Then in the evening, I gave a presentation to the wider Arco community. Those presentations are available below.

In addition to the conversations with the citizens of Arco (Arconoids?), I enjoyed the fried pickles at Pickle’s Place. And the drive between Boise and Arco was filled with sparkling lakes, snow-scarfed mountains, and a podcast from Radiolab. Just as Highway 20 spilled into the valley of Castle Rocks, the sunglint from the Little Camas reservoir crashed in through my windshield. It was very Idaho.

Because Arco is in the path of totality for the August eclipse, they are hosting an event for their visitors, and you can find out more about that event here –

Presentation to Arco Elementary School

Presentation to Butte County High School

Presentation to Arco Community