November 21, 2002: A new book of majestic images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope brings the wonders of our universe to the fingertips of the blind. Called "Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy," the 64-page WATCH: HubbleMinute Video HubbleMinute: "Touch the Universe" book presents color images of planets, nebulae, stars, and galaxies. Each image is embossed with lines, bumps, and other textures. The raised patterns translate colors, shapes, and other intricate details of the cosmic objects, allowing visually impaired people to feel what they cannot see. Braille and large-print descriptions accompany each of the book's 14 photographs, making the design of this book accessible to readers of all visual abilities.See the rest:
"Touch the Universe" takes the reader on a cosmic journey, beginning with an image of the Hubble Space Telescope orbiting Earth and then traveling outward into the universe, showing objects such as Jupiter and the Ring Nebula. The journey ends with the Hubble Deep Field North, an image revealing thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.
Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, an astronomer at DePaul University in Chicago, got the idea for the book while browsing through a museum gift shop where he saw a tactile astronomy book called "Touch the Stars," written by Noreen Grice. The book contains tactile line drawings of objects such as constellations, planets, and galaxies. Grice, operations coordinator for the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Boston Museum of Science, has been making astronomical pictures accessible to the blind for 18 years.
"I thought that Noreen's book 'Touch the Stars' was a wonderful idea, especially because astronomy is thought of as a visual science," Beck-Winchatz explains. "At the same time, when I saw the book and her sketches, I thought there was so much more we could do. I thought it would be intriguing to create similar tactile pictures based on real Hubble Space Telescope images."