Technology How Blind Astronomers Will Observe the Solar Eclipse

21:50  05 august  2017
21:50  05 august  2017 Source:   theatlantic.com

Revealed: What the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Will Look Like During the Total Solar Eclipse

  Revealed: What the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Will Look Like During the Total Solar Eclipse With the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse only a few weeks away, astronomers have revealed what the sun's outer atmosphere is likely to look like as the sun disappears behind the moon. The World's Richest Agree: This Will Impact Everything See The Tech Sponsored by The Motley Fool The Aug. 21 eclipse will sweep across the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. Skywatchers within this path will experience totality, when the moon appears to move directly in front of the solar disk and casts a long shadow on Earth.

Doucette, armed with his camera equipment, will observe the eclipse with dozens of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Halifax Center, an association of amateur and professional astronomers . He has only witnessed partial solar eclipses in the past.

Doucette, armed with his camera equipment, will observe the eclipse with dozens of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Halifax Center, an association of amateur and professional astronomers . He has only witnessed partial solar eclipses in the past.

Eclipses are a total sensory experience even for those who can’t see them.© Getty Images Eclipses are a total sensory experience even for those who can’t see them. Like millions of other people, Wanda Diaz Merced plans to observe the August 21 total solar eclipse, when the moon’s shadow will sweep across the sun and, for a few brief moments, coat parts of the United States in darkness. But she won’t see it. She’ll hear it.

Diaz Merced, an astrophysicist, is blind, with just 3 percent of peripheral vision in her right eye, and none in her left. She has been working with a team at Harvard University to develop a program that will convert sunlight into sound, allowing her to hear the solar eclipse. The sound will be generated in real time, changing as the dark silhouette of the moon appears over the face of the bright sun, blocking its light. Diaz Merced will listen in real time, too—with her students at the Athlone School for the Blind in Cape Town, South Africa, where she teaches astronomy.

The time-honored, eye-searing tradition of staring directly at a solar eclipse

  The time-honored, eye-searing tradition of staring directly at a solar eclipse The solar eclipse taking place later this August is expected to send millions of people flocking to communities along the phenomenon’s path. 

Blind Astronomers : She works with a team at Harvard University to develop a program that will convert sunlight into sound, hearing the solar eclipse . Like millions of other people, Wanda Diaz Merced plans to observe the August 21 total solar eclipse , when the moon’s shadow will sweep

Like millions of other people, Wanda Diaz Merced plans to observe the August 21 total solar eclipse But she won’t see it. Wanda Díaz-Merced: Making Astronomy Accessible for the Visually Impaired. Tim Doucette is legally blind .

“It’s an experience of a lifetime, and they deserve the opportunity,” Diaz Merced said.

To capture the auditory version of this astronomical event, the team turned to a piece of technology measuring only a couple inches long: the Arduino, a cheap microcomputer popular with tech-savvy, DIY hobbyists. With a few attachments, Arduinos can be used to create all kinds of electronic devices that interact with the physical world, from the useful, like finger scanners that unlock garage doors, to the silly, like motion-detecting squirt guns. Diaz Merced’s collaborators equipped an Arduino with a light-detecting sensor and speaker, and programmed it to convert light into a clicking noise. The pace of the clicks varies with the intensity of the sunlight hitting the sensor, speeding up as it strengthens and slowing down as it dims. In the moments of totality, when the sun’s outer atmosphere appears as a thin ring around the shadow of the moon, the clicks will be a second or more apart.

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How Blind Astronomers Will Observe the Solar Eclipse – The Atlantic.

Allyson Bieryla, an astronomy lab and telescope manager at Harvard, will operate the Arduino from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, inside the path of totality. She will stream the audio on a website online, which Diaz Merced will open on her computer in Cape Town.

So far, Bieryla says, “the real challenge has been trying to find a light sensor that’s sensitive enough to get the variation in the eclipse.” In totality, the sun will appear about as bright as a full moon at midnight. The team has tested the Arduino at night, under the moonlight, to make sure it can pick up the faint luminosity.

Diaz Merced, a postdoctoral fellow at the Office of Astronomy for Development in South Africa, was diagnosed with diabetes as a child. In her early 20s, when she was studying physics at the University of Puerto Rico, she was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, a complication of the disease that destroys blood vessels in the retina. Her vision began to deteriorate, and a failed laser surgery damaged her retinas further, she said. By her late 20s, she was almost completely blind. She recalls watching a partial solar eclipse in 1998 in Puerto Rico, when she still had some sight.

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  What Solar Eclipses Have Taught Us About the Universe Total solar eclipses like the one that will cross the U.S. on Aug. 21 have captured the attention of astronomers throughout history — and have often led to advances in our understanding of how the universe works. Total solar eclipses like the one that will cross the U.S. on Aug. 21 have captured the attention of astronomers throughout history — and have often led to advances in our understanding of how the universe works.

How to Watch the 2017 Solar Eclipse Without Going Blind . Doucette, armed with his camera equipment, will observe the eclipse with dozens of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Halifax Center, an association of amateur and professional astronomers .

I'm curious, couldn't you pickup RF from the sun, to 'listen' to the eclipse ?

“I was able to experience the wonderfulness—of the sun being dark, of having a black ball in the sky,” she said. “That is why it is important to use the sound in order to bring an experience that will bring that same feeling to people who do not see or are not visually oriented.”

  How Blind Astronomers Will Observe the Solar Eclipse © Paul Spella / The Atlantic While Diaz Merced experiences the eclipse from a classroom in Cape Town, Tim Doucette will observe the event at a campground in Nebraska, smack-dab in the path of totality. Doucette is a computer programmer by day and an amateur astronomer by night. He runs a small observatory, Deep Sky, near his home in Nova Scotia in a sparsely populated area known for low light pollution and star-studded night skies.

Doucette is legally blind, and has about 10 percent of his eyesight. He had cataracts as a baby, a condition that clouds the lenses of the eye. To treat the disease, doctors surgically removed the lenses, leaving Doucette without the capacity to filter out certain wavelengths. His eyes are sensitive to ultraviolet and infrared light, and he wears sunglasses during the day to protect his retinas. Without shades, Doucette said he can’t keep his eye open in the brightness of day.  But at night, his sensitivity becomes an advantage. With the help of a telescope, Doucette can see the near-infrared light coming from stars and other objects in the sky better than most people.

Not in the 2017 Solar Eclipse's Path? An Astrophysicist Has Some Advice

  Not in the 2017 Solar Eclipse's Path? An Astrophysicist Has Some Advice Paul Sutter is an astrophysicist at The Ohio State University and the chief scientist at COSI Science Center. Sutter leads science-themed tours around the world at AstroTouring.com. Sutter contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Let's say you're not lucky enough to find yourself along the narrow strip of totality during the coming solar eclipse on Aug. 21. Don't feel bad — you still may get a stellar view. Everyone in the continental United States — as well as Canada and Mexico — will get to enjoy seeing a bite taken out of the sun on that afternoon.

I'm curious, couldn't you pickup RF from the sun, to 'listen' to the eclipse ?

How to Watch the 2017 Solar Eclipse Without Going Blind . Doucette, armed with his camera equipment, will observe the eclipse with dozens of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Halifax Center, an association of amateur and professional astronomers .

“My whole life, I’ve always been asking people for help, saying, ‘hey, what do you see?’” Doucette said. “When I stargaze with people, the tables are reversed.”

Doucette sees best at night, safe from the glare of the sun. He uses starlight to guide him during the short walk from his observatory to his home. “When I’m walking down the road, especially during the summer months, the Milky Way is just this incredible painting going from north to south,” he said. “It’s millions and millions of points of light. It’s like a tapestry of diamonds against a velvety background.”

Doucette, armed with his camera equipment, will observe the eclipse with dozens of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Halifax Center, an association of amateur and professional astronomers. He has only witnessed partial solar eclipses in the past. “It should be quite interesting to see what the effect is because of my sensitivity,” he said. During totality, when day becomes night, some objects in the sky may become visible, thanks to his sensitivity to their light.

Doucette will wear eclipse sunglasses over his regular pair. Eclipse glasses protect the eyes from sunlight so viewers can look directly at it without hurting their eyes, and they can be bought online for a few dollars. Doucette urged eclipse viewers to use them, citing stories he’d heard of people looking at the sun during an eclipse and waking up blind the next morning, their retinas burned. The shades are necessary before and after totality, when the sun is only partially eclipsed and a thin crescent shines with typical intensity.

“Once the eclipse is in totality for about two and a half minutes, I’m told that it’s safe to take the glasses off, but I’m not willing to risk it,” Doucette said. “I’ll still keep my sunglasses on either way.”

International Space Station astronauts to view the solar eclipse 3 times .
<p>While millions of Americans gather across the country to catch a glimpse of Monday's total solar eclipse, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station will view the event from a much different vantage point.</p>The ISS crew members are predicted to view both a partial eclipse and the moon's shadow cast on the North American continent as they make three tracks around the planet 400 km above Earth's surface, according to NASA.

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