WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — As eclipse-watchers look to the sky, people who are blind or visually impaired will be able to hear and feel the celestial event.

Sound and touch devices will be available at public gatherings on April 8, when a total solar eclipse crosses North America.

Yuki Hatch, a high school senior in Austin, Texas, is a visually impaired student and space enthusiast. On eclipse day, she and her classmates at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired plan to sit outside in the school’s quad and listen to a device called LightSound that translates changing visual to audio.

When the sun is bright, there will be high, delicate flute notes. As the moon begins to cover the sun, mid-range notes are those of a clarinet. Darkness is rendered by a low, clicking sound.

“Eclipses are very beautiful things, and everyone should be able to experience it once in their lifetime,” Hatch said. “I’m looking forward to being able to actually hear the eclipse instead of seeing it."

The LightSound device is the result of collaboration between Wanda Díaz-Merced, an astronomer who is blind, and Harvard astronomer Allyson Bieryla. As part of research, Díaz-Merced translates data into audio to analyze patterns.

They are working with other institutions to distribute at least 750 devices to locations hosting eclipse events in U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Perkins Library, associated with Perkins School For The Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, plans to broadcast the changing tones of LightSound via Zoom for members to listen online and by telephone, said outreach manager Erin Fragola.

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