In what some may think is a strange move, NASA just published photo astronomy book for the blind. Using surface texture, the book lets the blind experience the universe, all while reminding the rest of us that visible light is only a tiny spectrum of what telescopes can see.
“Touch the Invisible Sky” is a 60-page book with color images of nebulae, stars, galaxies and some of the telescopes that captured the original pictures. Each image is embossed with lines, bumps and other textures. These raised patterns translate colors, shapes and other intricate details of the cosmic objects, allowing visually impaired people to experience them. Braille and large-print descriptions accompany each of the book’s 28 photographs, making the book’s design accessible to readers of all visual abilities.
The book contains spectacular images from the Great Observatories and powerful ground-based telescopes. The celestial objects are presented as they appear through visible-light telescopes and different spectral regions invisible to the naked eye, from radio to infrared, visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light.
The book introduces the concept of light and the spectrum and explains how the different observatories complement each others’ findings. Readers take a cosmic journey beginning with images of the sun, and travel out into the galaxy to visit relics of exploding and dying stars, as well as the Whirlpool galaxy and colliding Antennae galaxies.
Press release: NASA Unveils Cosmic Images Book in Braille for Blind Readers
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