Smoke unlikely to affect eclipse visibility

The National Weather Service is expecting clear weather for Aug. 21, when the total eclipse arrives.

Travis Wyatt, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pocatello, said temperatures are expected to be in the mid to upper 70s during the daytime, and there will be mostly clear skies.

Wyatt said the weather prediction is “definitely more than 50 percent” likely to be accurate.

While the clouds are expected to stay away, smoke from wildfires could hurt visibility, Travis said, and can’t be predicted like the weather.

Even if smoke does cover the sky, however, eclipse expert Michael Zeiler, who runs the website, said it’s unlikely to affect visibility of the solar eclipse.

According to the National Weather Service, the total eclipse will be visible at 11:33 a.m. for 1 minute and 41 seconds, when the sun is near its high point for the day.

The height of the sun is one factor that will influence visibility of the eclipse if there’s smoke, according to Zeiler. The other is the thickness of the smoke.

“You’re looking through much less (smoke) if the sun is up high than if it’s at sunset,” Zeiler said.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.