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On August 21, 2017, millions of people will view a total solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. However, for the visually impaired, or others who are unable to see the eclipse with their own eyes, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project delivers a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event. The project, from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, will include audio descriptions of the eclipse in real time, recordings of the changing environmental sounds during the eclipse, and an interactive “rumble map” app that will allow users to visualize the eclipse through touch.

With these tools, the Eclipse Soundscapes team hopes to provide visually impaired individuals with a variety of resources to explore the eclipse on their own — and maybe even learn something that their sighted peers could not through visuals alone.

Although the August 21 eclipse will only last for a few hours from beginning to end, the information collected through the Eclipse Soundscapes app will live on as an open source primary documentation of this historic event, and as a model for making science accessible for all. The team aims to continue their efforts for upcoming total solar eclipses, including one in Chile in 2019, and another that will visit the central United States in April 2024.