In the magazine world, we are always looking ahead—to the next issue, the next big story, the next great technology, and at Weatherwise, the next big storm. And while weather is inherently unpredictable, giving forecasters a run for their money on a regular basis, one aspect of the atmospheric that is predictable is solar eclipses. As such, we are devoting part of this issue to the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.
It has been nearly 40 years since those of us residing in North America were able to view a total eclipse so “close to home.” In fact, the eclipse will be visible in its totality across a wide swath of the middle of the country from the Oregon Coast to South Carolina, affecting some 12 million people. Another 220 million people are within a day's drive of the totality zone, though they will be able to view a partial eclipse in their own backyards.
Of course, proximity to an eclipse does not guarantee good viewing, as any avid skywatcher knows. You also have to be sure to find a spot with the greatest likelihood of clear skies. For this, you have come to the right place. Author Joe Rao has given us the best weather information he can ahead of the eclipse for optimal viewing. We hope that by giving you the information you need to know about the eclipse itself and the best bet for viewing it, weatherwise, several months ahead of time you will have the opportunity to go see this spectacular phenomenon should you wish to.
This issue also features a fascinating story on being a weather detective when viewing artistic masterpieces. Robert C. Balling, Jr., Contributing Editor Randy Cerveny, and Alisa Spavronskaya have taken a look at how rainbows are depicted in some of the art world's best known paintings and conclude that more often than not, the artists failed to take into account accurate meteorological information when painting this spectacular phenomena. There are exceptions to the rule, however, and you will have to see if you can discover where the artists got it right and where they did not!
I hope you enjoy this issue of Weatherwise. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.