The Hubble Space Telescope has taken some of the most beautiful images known to man. People from all over the world have constantly admired these stunning and colorful images of stars and galaxies thousands or even millions of light years away from our home planet. However, visually impaired people have never gotten the chance to enjoy the benefits that the Hubble telescope has given to humanity. Things are going to change, however, as a researcher from the Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute and a Cary, NC-based software analytics company called SAS have teamed up to create an eBook designed to help people with seeing problems appreciate the beauty of the universe.
Elene Sabbi from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and SAS will be releasing an eBook entitle "Reach for the Stars." The eBook contains 90 pages divided into 6 chapters and will teach visually impaired students about astronomy, starts and the universe in general. The book also features images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. However, these images will be presented in a manner that will allow blind students as well as students with partial vision to absorb and understand the information that these images contain.
"We hope it will be an inspiration and attract people to science," says Sabbi. "That's the main goal. We want to convince children that science is cool, is fun, and that anybody could be a scientist, if they want to."
Sabbi, who was one of the main proponents of the book, is one of the lead researchers of the STScI. Sabbi was also the leader of the team behind the recent 30 Doradus, Tarantula Nebula image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Each of the 90 pages in the book starts out with a question. The question will then be answered as students go through the information contained in each page. The book uses a combination of images, audio, and braille. Each page will have an audio icon that students can touch to hear a voice-over packed with information. In addition to this, the eBook will leverage on the accessibility features of the iPad.