The Moon will block out the Sun in a total eclipse August 21. The eclipse will be visible across the North American continent. In the Bitterroot Valley it will be 95 percent covered. Total eclipse views in this time zone will be slightly south in Idaho.

Interest has grown until it's now being called "The Great American Eclipse."

Angela Des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium at Montana State University started a project about three years ago with NASA to "live stream" eclipse video from high altitude balloons.

Since then, over 50 ballooning teams have joined the enterprise. That means the web traffic to the balloon video will probably be (if I may use the term) astronomical! Officials are expecting between 100 million and 500 million hits on NASA's website, Des Jardins said.

They make that estimate because when NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012, the live-stream had 100 million views. And that was five years ago.

A company called Stream has joined the effort and their specialty is large internet audiences.

MSU is leading the national balloon project, tweaking software and hardware that will be used by all the teams in the network. Des Jardins said there are 14 undergraduates and two graduate students in Bozeman working on the preparations.

By the way, MSU will be launching their balloon at Rexburg, Idaho.

For more information check the MSU news release.

More From Alt 95.7