Perryville to hold eclipse event for visually impaired

A variety of Perryville organizations will team up to hold the Hear the Eclipse event for visually impaired individuals from to 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, April 8 at Perryville Fire Station No. 2.

The organizations hosting the event include Perryville Fire Department, Perry County Heritage Tourism, Perry County Eclipse Task Force, Perry County School District No. 32 and Warren Audio and Visual. According to a Perry County School District news release, the event is also in partnership with Harvard University with the LightSound device developed by the university.

Perry County Heritage Tourism executive director Trish Erzfeld said in the news release the device allows people who deal with blindness and low vision "to 'hear' the eclipse through speakers".

"Researchers at Harvard developed a solar sonification prototype for the 2017 North American solar eclipse," Erzfeld stated.

Erzfeld also stated that they were fortunate to receive some of the devices, be able to use the fire department's facility and were provided the speakers from Mike Warren of Warren Audio and Visual.

The news release also states the device works by converting the intensity of the light into 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 four minutes in Perryville beginning at 1:58 p.m., the sound will represent darkness and the tone will change at 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," the release states.

For more information on the LightSound project, visit https://astrolab.fas.harvard.edu/LightSound.html.

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