August 1, 2018

E8 – The Dark Sound of the Moon

Posted by Shane Hanlon

The app used to make astronomy and astrophysics more accessible to everyone including people who are blind and visually impaired.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse swept across the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people stood looking up at the sky, their mouths agape, as the Sun’s disk was completely covered by the Moon. For many people, the experience of day turning into night and back into day, and the sight of the Sun’s corona streaming out behind the dark circle of the Moon, is a picture they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

But what about people who are visually impaired? How did they experience this celestial event? In this episode, Henry “Trae” Winter III, a solar astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, describes how he and his colleagues designed a new way for people who are blind and visually impaired to experience the 2017 total solar eclipse and his work to design and build tools that make astronomy and astrophysics more accessible to everyone, including people who are blind and visually impaired.

Learn more about the app Trae and his colleagues created for the 2017 solar eclipse at eclipsesoundscapes.org.