Viewable Sky

Astronomy for all 
I 
am person with impaired eyesight or Legal Blindness who enjoys Astronomy.  Fome it's not so much about seeing but in thinking to understand.  There is so much good and helpful information online to review and talk about.  I have learnt much from listening to people who can see the sky.  My local Astronomy Club 'Horowhenua Astronomical Society' has welcomed me to meetings and gatherings.  Members make time to help me understand the multiple wonders of space and beyond.  They answer questions well and don't make me feel stupid in my ignorance. 



The International Astronomical Union has taken a lead in helping people with disabilities to access Astronomy and our wonderful ever expanding universe. The International Astronomical Union has a Working Group on ''Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion''. Through this group, astronomers (both sighted and visually impaired astronomers) are developing methods and resources to facilitate access to astronomical information "for people with special educational or physical needs, or those who might be excluded for their particular race or gender." Their resources are available  at http://sion.frm.utn.edu.ar/iau-inclusion/?page_id=27 

The IAU office has funded projects for visually impaired persons, one of which resulted in the creation of an Astronomical kit  for the visually impaired.   More information on the kit is at  http://astrokit.uv.es/  These resources can be downloaded from the site.

One of the first resources I discovered was the very good BBC Sky at Night magazine. Here is a short Youtube video with five practical things to consider when beginning to enjoy the ight Sky.     

Here is another very short video about the Solar System ---    

There is a very good resource published by the 'One Minute Astronomer' Dr Brian Ventrudo which any novice or armchair stargazer wanting to learn a few bright stars would be well advised to read.  This guide includes maps and tours in PDF format, plus an MP3 audio file so vision impaired people can follow along.   There's no charge for this guide. which is freely available at  -

Looking at and understanding the night sky is an inexpensive and absorbing pass time which can be enjoyed by everyone even if you are in a wheelchair or require magnification.  There is another good resource available with lots of excellent information aiming at 'Teaching Astronomy' is http://www.teachastronomy.com/

Recently I became aware of an excellent, simple New Zealand web site. I encourage you to check it out by clicking on the SpaceCentre logo below
http://www.spacecentre.nz/

Some Astronomers take particular interest in specific aspects of the wider universe such as Stars, Planets, Nebula and phenomena like Black Holes, to name a few.   Whilst researching the The Messier objects, a set of 110 astronomical objects catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier, I discovered a worthwhile web site with good helpful information on the Constellations.  Please click this Icon to read more.  


I have found Astronomy to be a fantastic hobby with some fine and helpful people in local clubs.   My hope interested people will have a go and enjoy their night sky even if they have mobility or optical challenges.  To begin with it’s important we are clear about the topic we are considering. In the public's mind there is some confusion between the terms Astronomy and Astrology.    
  • Astronomy is a natural science which deals with the study of celestial objects such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies plus phenomena that originate outside the Earth's atmosphere such as the cosmic background radiation. It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe.
  • Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer. Astrologers believe that the movements and positions of celestial bodies either directly influence life on Earth or correspond to events experienced on a human scale
Astronomy, comes from the Greek words for star law and is the scientific study of all objects beyond our world.    It's also the process by which we seek to understand the physical laws and origins of our universe.
 
The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years or 2.4×1019 km's from Earth.  Also known as Messier 31 (M31).
Even if all you can do is look at or think about our universe there is much to enjoy in Astronomy .!