A cloud of dust and small rock fragments left behind comet 1P / Halley in one of its approaches to the Sun will fly over Earth on May 5 and will give rise to the meteor shower known as ETA-Aquarids.
The Astrophysics Institute of Canary Islands (IAC) explains in a note that the “meteor showers” are great celestial spectacles that are produced by the collision of small fragments of comets (or asteroids) with the atmosphere of our planet.
The most popular are the Perseids, in August, the Geminids, in December, or the Quadrantids, in January, but about 40 of these meteor showers take place annually, which are analyzed to continue studying the Solar System.
The sky-live.tv channel, with the collaboration of the Energy Efficiency Laboratories (EELabs) project, coordinated by the IAC, will broadcast this meteor shower on May 5 as part of the activities of the citizen science project of the Spanish Foundation for the Science and Technology (FECYT) ‘Sounds of Heaven’.
An initiative that aims to involve the whole family in sorting meteors and, in addition, make this task more accessible for people with visual disabilities.
Precisely the objective of the “Sounds of Heaven” project is to use citizen science to improve knowledge about these minor bodies, classifying them based on general characteristics and looking for similar patterns among them.
The Eta-Aquarid meteor shower annually show their peak of activity between April 19 and May 28.
In this project, a multidisciplinary team made up of engineers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, astronomers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, educators from the Community of Madrid and amateurs from the Madrid Sur Astronomical Group have come together to carry out said research and also bring citizen science and astronomy to society.
The IAC adds that the ‘Sounds of the Sky’ project has a network of radiodetection stations for meteors, a novel technique for studying these objects, known as shooting stars.
One of the advantages of radio sensing is that allows you to capture the echoes of meteors during the day, rain or shine, Conditions that are obviously not conducive to making visual observation of this phenomenon, but which, today, is still the usual way of studying these phenomena.
The project team has developed the software to artificially transform the echoes into sounds and present them in different formats for classification.
According to the IAC, the most innovative version of the project is based on the use of artificial intelligence through the development of chatbots, which will allow blind people or people with certain visual difficulties to participate in the project and will be able to listen and classify the meteors following a voice conversation.
It has also designed a chatbot to make the experiment more accessible and attractive to children, without needing to know how to read or write.
During the live event, there will be the collaboration of Enrique Pérez Montero, CSIC scientific researcher and one of the most active disseminators on inclusive Astronomy, who will present the initiative ‘The Universe in Words’, which makes audio descriptions of images of astronomical objects .
In addition, a didactic workshop for children will be held in the Astronomy Classroom of Fuenlabrada, which is a public educational resource dedicated to the teaching of Astronomy in the school environment since the 1998/1999 academic year.