[Nfbc-info] Braille guide gives users a feel for 2017 solar eclipse

Frida Aizenman nfbfrida at gmail.com
Wed May 3 01:24:25 UTC 2017

Braille guide gives users a feel for 2017 solar eclipse

ByLeonard David Space.com's Space Insider Columnist

Published May 02, 2017

Path of the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017.  (Fred Espenak, 

A new tactile guide lets everyone learn more about the upcoming2017 
total solar eclipse 
even people who won't be able see it.

The Braille book, called "Getting a Feel for Eclipses," features 
graphics that teach users about the interaction and alignment of the sun 
with the moon and Earth. Along with the guide, associated activities 
clarify the nature ofsolar eclipses 

"These tactile books bring the theory and context to life for me. As a 
student who is blind, I never quite understood the beauty and vastness 
of space," said Mariah Williams, a senior at the College of Charleston 
in South Carolina, who has been blind since birth. "Now I understand 
what will be happening during the total solar eclipse on August 21st!" 
[Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely) 

    The 2017 total solar eclipse

    More From Space.com


          2017 total solar eclipse



          Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)


A solar eclipse occurs when the sunlight reaching Earth is blocked bythe 
moon <http://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html>. 
The type of eclipse being explored with this tactile guide is known as a 
total solar eclipse, which occurs somewhere on Earth about once every 18 
months. The last time a total eclipse was visible from coast to coast in 
the United States was June 1918.

But that will change on Aug. 21, when a total solar eclipse begins in 
the northern Pacific and crosses America from west to east through parts 
of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, 
Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, 
Georgia and South Carolina.

"Getting a Feel for Eclipses" will help sighted as well as visually 
impaired people better understand the historic event, said geology professor

Cassandra Runyon of the College of Charleston, one of the project's leaders.

"Having the chance to use an additional sense, such as touch, adds a 
whole new dimension to the learning process," Runyon told Space.com.

Thus far, 2,500 copies of the eclipse book have been sent to schools and 
libraries for the blind and state libraries, as well as NASA centers and 
other institutions, she added.

Some 3,000 copies are also in print for distribution at the National 
Federation of the Blind Conference this summer, Runyon said, as well as 
through museums, science centers and NASA headquarters' programs.

"And, as folks learn more about it, we are answering requests to share 
the book with more rural schools and/or communities who work with the 
blind and visually impaired," Runyon said.

    Portfolio of products

Runyon said that, in addition to the eclipse book, work is underway on 
tactile books regarding small bodies in the solar system, ocean worlds 
beyond Earth and the science of spectroscopy.

"The 'Getting a Feel for Eclipses' book for the blind is just the latest 
in our portfolio after our 'Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters,' and a 
Mars exploration book for the blind we produced a few years ago," said 
Joseph Minafra, the lead for Innovation and Technical Partnerships 
within the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) 
at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Minafra said that project team members are also working with park 
rangers to take advantage of opportunities to engage the public using 
these books for the blind.

/Leonard David is author of "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet," 
published by National Geographic. The book is a companion to the 
National Geographic Channel series "Mars." A longtime writer for 
Space.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than 
five decades. Follow us @Spacedotcom , Facebook or Google+ . Originally 
published on Space.com ./

More information about the NFBC-Info mailing list