For blind and visually impaired astronomers, sonification of data creates opportunities for research and outreach. This Focus issue of Nature Asteonomy Journal lays out the benefits of complementing vision-based data analysis tools with data sonification.
The collection of articles sprung from the Audible Universe workshop in 2021, which convened astronomers and sound engineers — until then two disparate communities with a shared passion.
A Meeting Report by Chris Harrison and colleagues discusses sonification tools for enhancing scientific discovery and accessibility to astronomy research and education.
In their Q&A, Jake Noel-Storr and Michelle Willebrands interview four blind or visually impaired researchers working in astronomy research, education and outreach: Nicolas Bonne, Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, Garry Foran and Enrique Perez Montero.
The Perspective titled Sonification and sound design for astronomy research, education and public engagement by Anita Zanella and co-workers then discusses in greater detail the benefits of sound, including nearly 100 sound-based astronomy projects, in context.
Zanella, A., Harrison, C.M., Lenzi, S. et al. Sonification and sound design for astronomy research, education and public engagement. Nat Astron 6, 1241–1248 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-022-01721-z
In the second Perspective article titled Sound Experts’ Perspectives on Astronomy Sonification Projects, Nicolas Misdariis leads a team of sound experts in sound perception/cognition, sound design, psychoacoustics and experimental psychology in setting out the basic elements of sonification, with its diversity of tools, applications and users, from perception to experience. Together with Sandra Pauletto I contributed to the section titled Sound Design and Sonification which describes a design oriented approach to sonic information design.
Misdariis, N., Özcan, E., Grassi, M. et al. Sound experts’ perspectives on astronomy sonification projects. Nat Astron 6, 1249–1255 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-022-01821-w