Thus, although the primary motivation for designing an eclipse sonification was to include individuals with visual impairments who might otherwise have been left out during this rare shared experience, the reduced visual capabilities experienced by all viewers made the eclipse sonification a perceptual enhancement for everyone.
To make the sonification available synchronously to large numbers of people at different locations, the eclipse sonification was hosted on a public-facing website synchronized with the unfolding time-period of the eclipse. Although different locations experience different eclipse durations, we focused our design on two cities: Hopkinsville, Kentucky (the site of maximum total solar eclipse), and Atlanta, Georgia (a site of non-total overlap). The data was transformed into sound using the Data-to-Music sonification API (Tsuchiya, Freeman and Lerner 2015), Supercollider and sample sounds from Ableton Live.
4.1 Archived Interactive Demonstration
An archived interactive demonstration of what audience members heard during the eclipse is now available on the eclipse website, and we encourage the reader to explore this site to listen to the sounds and apprehend the mappings. The online archive includes a total of 40 minutes of audio, including different “movements” of the piece and different “events.” An information button in the upper right-hand corner allows the user to read about the sounds and mappings used in more detail. Figure 4 displays two screenshots from the interface, taken 20 seconds before and 20 seconds after totality.