Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomeScienceFeel the Solar Eclipse with NASA's Eclipse Soundscapes Project

Feel the Solar Eclipse with NASA’s Eclipse Soundscapes Project


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An AudioMoth device hangs from a tree branch, ready to capture the sounds of an eclipse. Credit: Eclipse Soundscapes Project

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An AudioMoth device hangs from a tree branch, ready to capture the sounds of an eclipse. Credit: Eclipse Soundscapes Project

When darkness covers the landscape during a total solar eclipse, unusual things start to happen. Deceived by the false twilight, the birds stop singing, the crickets begin to chirp and the bees return to their hives.

Reports of these atypical animal behaviors date back centuries, but the effects of an eclipse on plant and animal life are not fully understood. So on April 8, 2024, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project will collect the sights and sounds of a total solar eclipse with the help of interested members of the public to better understand how an eclipse affects different ecosystems.

“Eclipses are often thought of as a visual event, something you see,” said Kelsey Perrett, communications coordinator for the Eclipse Soundscapes Project. “We want to demonstrate that eclipses can be studied in a multisensory way, through sound, sensation and other forms of observation.”

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, blocking its light from reaching parts of the planet. In areas where sunlight is completely blocked (known as the path of totality), it appears as if twilight has fallen, temperatures drop, and some stars become visible.

These changes can trick animals into altering their usual daytime behaviors. A total solar eclipse will pass over the heads of more than 30 million people in North America on April 8, 2024, providing the perfect opportunity for a large-scale citizen science project.


In April 2024, volunteers will be able to join the Eclipse Soundscapes project to help NASA scientists better understand how solar eclipses affect wildlife. Volunteers will collect sound recordings, make observations using any of their senses, and even help with data analysis along the eclipse path. This video features interviews from Eclipse Soundscapes experts MaryKay Severino, Dr. William “Trae” Winter III and Dr. William Oestreich, and highlights natural resources manager Dr. Chace Holzhueser at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, who will carry out a similar study. for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Credit: Lacey Young/NASA

The Eclipse Soundscapes Project aims to replicate a similar study conducted by American scientist William M. Wheeler after a 1932 total solar eclipse that passed over northeastern Canada and the United States. The nearly century-long study captured nearly 500 observations from the public.

The Eclipse Soundscapes Project hopes that modern tools will replicate and expand that study to better understand animal and insect behavior. This will be achieved through multi-sensory observations, such as audio recordings and written accounts of what is seen, heard or felt during the eclipse.

The project, which is particularly interested in learning about cricket behavior, aims to answer questions such as: Do nocturnal and diurnal animals act differently or become more or less vocal during a solar eclipse?

“The more audio data and observations we have, the better we can answer these questions,” Perrett said. “The contributions of participatory scientists will allow us to delve deeper into specific ecosystems and determine how the eclipse may have impacted each of them.”

The Eclipse Soundscape project invites people to get involved in the study at all levels, from learning about eclipses online, to collecting multisensory observations and audio data, to analyzing the data, and in all places, whether they are in the path of totality or not. . The project is open to people of all backgrounds and abilities. All project roles have been designed with accessibility in mind to invite people who are blind or have low vision to participate alongside their sighted peers.

People in or near the path of totality can participate as “data collectors” using an AudioMoth device, a low-cost audio recording device equipped with a micro-SD card, to capture the sounds of an eclipse

More information:
For more information about the project and how to get involved, visit: eclipsesoundscapes.org/



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