Solar Eclipse Accessibility to People Who are Blind

On April 8, the first total solar eclipse in nearly seven years will captivate North America. A new innovation is making it possible for people who are blind or visually impaired to experience this phenomenon. 

Astronomers Wanda Díaz-Merced and Allyson Bieryla developed the LightSound device in 2017, driven by Díaz-Merced’s own experiences as a person who is blind that has faced exclusion in her life. The device translates the eclipse stages into musical notes, providing users with a unique experience. 

One user notes, “Even though we can’t see something, doesn’t mean we can’t experience something. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.”

The bright sun prompts high flute-like tones to play, which deepen as the moon begins to cover the sun. The event concludes with low clicking sounds as complete darkness is reached.

At least 750 devices have been distributed to eclipse event locations, fostering tangible experiences to all. Click here to see LightSound devices near you. Please call locations to confirm availability.

The next solar eclipse won’t happen again until 2044.

This article was written by CPNRI Communications Intern Sophia McKean.