A new NASA-funded book written in Braille, Touch the Invisible Sky, uses Braille, large type print, and tactile diagrams of celestial images observed by NASA's Great Fleet of space telescopes Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer to reveal the cosmos to the blind and seeing-impaired.
In an inspiring forward to the volume, blind mountain climber Erik
Weihenmayer writes, "Sight ... is only one of the many tools with which
to experience the marvels of the world."
Many of the pictures in the book show the cosmos at wavelengths that no human eye can see--e.g., infra-red, ultraviolet and x-rays. "By showing these images, we remind readers that most of the universe and its beauty is hidden for all of our eyes unless we use special telescopes," says Doris Daou, a NASA astronomer who co-authored the book along with Noreen Grice and Simon Steele.
According to Kathleen Lestition, who coordinates Education and Outreach for the Chandra X-ray Center, "The Touch the Invisible Sky" project began as a small mission grant, but NASA is making this book a national resource, distributing copies of the book at no cost to schools of the blind around the US, the Library of Congress, several blind technology and training centers, and state libraries that have astronomy collections."
On page 4 of the book is a depiction of all the wavelengths of the electro-magnetic spectrum, from radio to gamma-rays. It shows, in a way, that all humans are partially blind. No one can see gamma-rays. Yet the cosmos is bright and lively in these 'invisible' wavelengths.
Posted by Casey Kazan. Adapted from a NASA release.
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