While most people in Perryville will be looking toward the sky on Monday, April 8 to see the total solar eclipse, another group will experience the celestial event in another way: They will listen to it through a device developed at Harvard University.
The Hear The Eclipse event will be held from 10 am to 3 pm at Perryville Fire Station 2 at 650 N. Perryville Boulevard. The event is hosted by Perryville Fire Department, Perry County Heritage Tourism, Perry County Eclipse Task Force, Perry County School District 32, and Warren Audio and Visual. The event is made possible through a partnership with researchers from Harvard University.
Organizations that serve the visually-impaired and families can register to attend the event by completing the Google registration form available at https://forms.gle/7gpVDPtCPxpDDXmA9. Parking is limited, so register early. Registration ends March 15.
“Researchers at Harvard developed a solar sonification prototype for the 2017 North American solar eclipse,” said Trish Erzfeld, executive director of Perry County Heritage Tourism and the go-to person for everything eclipse in this area. “This LightSound device allows people with visual impairments including blindness and low vision to ‘hear’ the eclipse through speakers.”
The LightSound works by converting light intensity to sound. As the moon moves in front of the sun, the musical tone changes as the light intensity decreases; as the eclipse reaches totality (which will last nearly 4 minutes in Perryville beginning at 1:58 pm), the sound will represent darkness and the tone will change as the light intensity increases as the moon moves past the sun. The LightSound will be broadcast over a sound system at intervals leading up to and during totality. A limited number of LightSound devices with headphones will be available for the vision-impaired who would like to experience the tones throughout the eclipse. You can learn more about the LightSound project by visiting the website at https://astrola b.fas. ha rvard .edu/LightSound. html.
“Perryville was fortunate to receive a few of the devices, and the Perryville Fire Department was happy to open Station 2 for this event,” Erzfeld said. “Mike Warren of Warren Audio and Visual has provided the sound system that will broadcast the eclipse sonification.
Everyone who has worked on this event hopes to help our visitors create memories of a lifetime.”