NASA's Braille Book Lets the Blind See a Total Solar Eclipse

Science is for everyone

Aug 21, 2017
Special Collections: THE ABILITY IN DISABILITY

On August 21st, 2017, what many are calling the Great American Eclipse will take place across 14 states in the continental US. Millions of spectators will be able to experience this once in a lifetime spectacle.

For the first time ever, blind people, who until now were unable to enjoy the magic of a total solar eclipse, will join in on this awe-inspiring event. NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley created a tactile guide, "Getting a Feel for Eclipses," that allows everyone to learn more about the upcoming eclipse – including people who won't be able visibly experience it.

The two-page book contains three tactile diagrams showing the alignment of the sun, moon, and earth, all of which are represented by different materials such as spanish moss for the sun, really rough cardboard for the moon and smooth cardboard with sand to create the continents representing the earth.

Explanations for the different stages of the eclipse and its path of totality from Oregon to South Carolina are written in English and Braille, giving sighted as well as visually-impaired people a better understand the science of eclipses.

The tactile guide is the third in a series of space-related braille books, following Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters and Exploring Mars. Over 5,000 copies of the book have been sent to schools and libraries for the blind, science centers, museums, state libraries, NASA centers and other institutions.

NASA's inspiring effort finally gives tens of thousands of people an exciting peek into science, that is tailored to their specific abilities.

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DAVID RUHM, EDITOR IN CHIEF
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.
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