All posts tagged Boise

On May 26, most of the Americas and eastern Asia will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. While lunar eclipses are perhaps less spectacular than solar eclipses, they are more common and much easier to view.

I thought it might be helpful to provide a short primer on lunar eclipses in general and how, when, and where to view this one in particular for the Boise metro area. Most of what I say here will be relevant for other regions as well.

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IMG_4302The kind folks at the Boise WaterShed Environmental Education Center invited me to speak with their visitors today. It was a wonderful crowd of young children and their parents.

As always the kids asked the best, most challenging questions, such as “Why do the planets go around the Sun?” and “What would happen if the Moon fell to the Earth?“.

I did my best to answer their questions and also gave them a tour of the night sky using the sky simulator stellarium.


Among the displays at the education center was a tray full of sand. As you dragged your hand through the sand, a computer projected topographic contours onto the sand that were updated in real-time to show how water would flow. Apparently, this set-up is called an “Augmented Reality Sandbox“. The video above shows how it works.


Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.31.24 AMAfter only one day of our PonyUp Campaign to Bring Back the Boise State Observatory, we’re already more than 15% there.

We’ve had some press on the project from several sources, including the local Fox 9 channel. Very exciting.

Special thanks to our donors Christian Lybrook, Ryan Lujan, LaVona Andrew, Marlene & Jim O’Tousa, Rick and Valerie Flores, and Charles Jewell.

Found some beautiful basalt columns around Lucky Peak State Park just east of Boise. A quick google search doesn’t turn up any previous surveys, so these could make a good spot for some follow-on studies to our field work back in 2011.