If you haven’t heard yet (unlikely), there’s an event of cosmic significance happening on August 21: a very special solar eclipse, with a shadow path that will pass exclusively through the continental U.S. (the next time this will happen is 2316). While everyone should be able to see something—if not a full eclipse for those in the path of “totality”—there’s, as always, the potential for unfortunate weather to get in the way of our grand plans.
To help eclipse-watchers get a better sense of where the phenomenon will truly be most visible, NASA’s Earth Observatory has released two alluring visualizations, produced by compiling satellite images for August 21 between 2000 and 2016. The first, shown above, shows where clear skies will be most likely (dark blue) and where clouds could cover things up (lighter blue to white).
The main takeaway? Northwestern U.S. is in luck, especially the states of Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.
A second visualization, shown below, goes in a little deeper, combining the cloud coverage data with the level of eclipse projected for each locale. It shows that while a full eclipse and its 70-mile-wide band of shadow should be visible from all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, the cities on that path with the best chances at clear skies are merely Salem, Oregon, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Casper, Wyoming. So long as weather is concerned, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.