Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project

Published: 
Jan 13, 2021
A grasshopper clings to a blade of grass, silhouetted against the orange disk of the evening sun. Eclipse Soundscapes logo in the bottom right corner.
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Team Mission:

The Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project (ES:CSP) will introduce accessible opportunities for citizen scientists to participate in real and meaningful scientific research focusing on how eclipses affect life on Earth.

Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project will revisit the Wheeler et. al (1935) study, an early attempt to conduct a citizen science project by documenting animal reactions to a 1932 total eclipse. To record the behavior of animals, the Boston Society of Natural History formed an Eclipse Behavior Committee, including game wardens, naturalists, and members of the general public (Wheeler et al., 1935). This generated 498 reports of the activities of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and fish. While these, and other accounts recorded during other eclipses, hint at changes in animal behavior, most reports do not have enough detail or accuracy to validate or disprove scientific hypotheses. The accounts also include observations of acoustic changes. As Vernon Bailey of NH wrote: “During the time of totality not a sound was heard except the chirping of numerous crickets." This suggests that eclipses could be studied in a multisensory manner.

With the help of citizen scientists, NASA subject matter experts (SMEs) will collect audio recordings from eclipses and analyze acoustic data to determine how disruptions in light and circadian rhythms may affect ecosystems. The data will include soundscapes recorded by the National Park Service and Brigham Young University during the 2017 total solar eclipse, as well as recordings to be taken during the 2023 annular eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse. The analysis of these recordings will be central to ARISA Lab’s informal learning objective, which is focused on fostering self-efficacy in under-represented learners, specifically members of the Blind and Low-Vision community (BLV). Under the guidance of NASA SMEs, citizen scientists will participate in workshops, and collect and analyze eclipse acoustic data. Follow the project on Facebook @EclipseSoundscapes, Twitter @EclipseSoundUDL, and Instagram @EclipseSoundscapes to stay updated and get involved in 2023 and 2024!

What does your team hope to achieve?

  • Enrich the Science Activation ecosystem by developing and documenting blind and low vision (BLV) best practices, training the NASA SMEs involved in this project to utilize these best practices, and sharing out best practices.
  • Communicate all key concepts and scientific data in multimodal, multisensory ways guided by Universal Design of Learning practices and a formative usability assessment framework in order to create products that are not only more accessible but also more engaging for everyone.
  • Leverage our established external partnerships with the BLV community to incorporate accessible design for all materials at every stage of the project. 
  • Address the lack of science self-efficacy among people with different abilities by actively engaging them in the scientific process with their peers and NASA SMEs.
  • Improve upon Wheeler et. al (1935) citizen science project by using modern tools, techniques, and soundscape ecology frameworks to conduct a rigorous and accessible study of the changes in soundscapes during eclipses. 

 

Project Website

EclipseSoundscapes.org

ARISA Lab, LLC
Facebook: @ArisaLabLLC
Twitter: @Arisa_Lab
Instagram: @ArisaLabLLC

Close up photo of grass in a field with a sunset in the background

Photo Credit: Photo By Ihor Hvozdetskyi: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1630876729.

More Science Activation Teams

The Eclipse Soundscapes: Citizen Science Project (ES:CSP) will introduce accessible opportunities for a diverse group of citizen scientists to participate in real and meaningful scientific research focusing on how eclipses affect life on Earth.