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Harvard University

Astronomy Lab and Clay Telescope

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Astronomy Accessibility Tools

This page is a collection of some of the tools that we use in our lab and telescope and a couple of the tools that we developed to make our lab and telescope more accomodating. Please contact Allyson Bieryla (abieryla@cfa.harvard.edu) with questions.

LightSound 2.0 - Solar Eclipse Arduino

This redesigned version of the orginal (LightSound 1.0) solar eclipse arduino includes the same high dynamic range sensor but has added midi capabilities to create a more pleasant sound. This version uses the same concept of converting sunlight to sound based on intensity and this is a new and improved tool for high dynamic range light including the upcoming solar eclipses in South America.

Build your own arduino

The LightSound device code and instructions to build are below. These are open source but they should not be used to build LightSounds for profit.

Instructions

Wiring Diagram

GitHub for device code and plotting code

We were awarded a grant from the IAU100 Special Projects to build 24 LightSound devices and distribute them to Argentina and Chile for the 2019 Solar Eclipse. More on the project here.

Above: example sound clips (top) mid range continuous audio, (middle) low light audio, similar to what is expected near totality, (bottom) bright light saturation audio

 

Orchestar - Color Arduino

This second generation arduino was designed with a high dynamic range light sensor as well as a color filter. The light is converted to sound based on the wavelength of light. Bluer light will have a higher pitch and redder light will have a lower pitch. This arduino can detect emitted light as well as reflected light using an on board LED light. This can be used in lab as a teaching tool and is designed with the idea of using it on a telescope for observational astronomy.

 

Build your own arduino

The Orchestar device code and instructions to build are below. These are open source but they should not be used to build Orchestar devices for profit.

Instructions - includes parts needed, software installation and instructions on assembly

Detailed software instructions

Wiring Diagram

Download code

 

 

LightSound 1.0 - Solar Eclipse Arduino

This arduino was designed to have high dynamic range to be able to detect the change in brightness during the Total Solar Eclipse this August 21, 2017. The light is then converted to sound. The sound will be a higher pitch when there is more light and a lower pitch when the sun is being eclipsed by the moon. There are instructions on how to build your own below. There was a live stream from Jackson Hole, Wyoming above starting the morning of August 21, 2017. There is some feedback due to the way the sound was recorded (screencapture) and we did collect some surrounding sounds as well.

click below for audio/video samples (all times MST)

Sample YouTube stream - Stream begins 11:31 AM - 12:08 PM

Full YouTube stream - Stream begins 10:52 AM - 12:08 PM

 

Build your own arduino

The LightSound device code and instructions to build are below. These are open source but they should not be used to build LightSounds for profit.

Parts and Schematic

Setup Arduino IDE - a B/VI reader friendly guide to setup the arduino IDE

 

 

Swell Form Printer

The Swell Form Printer creates tactile image and diagrams. We use this technology in the lab to create a tactile version of our FITS images from the telescope. The process is simple and takes a couple minutes so the images can be produced real-time at the telescope. This is a key tool that we use for real-time observing with a blind or visual impaired person.

Buy your own