At a ceremony today at the National Federation of the Blind, NASA unveiled a new book that brings majestic images taken by its Great Observatories to the fingertips of the blind.
"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. 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 Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope 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 the colliding Antennae galaxies.
"Touch the Invisible Sky" was written by astronomy educator and accessibility specialist Noreen Grice of You Can Do Astronomy LLC and the Museum of Science, Boston, with authors Simon Steel, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., and Doris Daou, an astronomer at NASA Headquarters, Washington.
The book will be available to the public through a wide variety of sources, including the National Federation of the Blind, Library of Congress repositories, schools for the blind, libraries, museums, science centers and Ozone Publishing.
Credit: NASA, ESA, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/Chandra X-ray Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech, National Radio Astronomy Observatory/Associated Universities, Inc., and the Space Telescope Science Institute/AURA