Division on Visual Impairments


A quarterly newsletter from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments containing practitioner tips for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and other professionals.

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Page 9 of 83

Making Astronomy Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments Through NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassador Program Jeffrey Killebrew, Science Teacher, TVI, The New Mexico School for the Blind & Visually Impaired JKillebrew@nmsbvi.k12.nm.us For countless generations, humans have looked skyward to explore and explain the tiny dots of light seemingly suspended above us. From early visages of mythological creatures to modern day cosmology we have sought to find our place in the universe and understand "what's out there." We have learned to build increasingly powerful telescopes for both ground and space- based observatories which have given astronomers powerful tools that peer deep into the cosmos, revealing mysteries that were unthought-of just a generation ago. Yet there are limitations for these platforms. Enter the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA. The result of an 80/20 partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), SOFIA is the world's largest flying observatory. This extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carries a 2.5-meter telescope 43,000 feet above earth's surface to explore the heavens in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye. This unseen universe cannot be 10

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