We started the new year, at our association "Johannes Kepler Linz",  with a new key subject. Disabled people should be more in our focus. So we invited an amateurastronomer who is doing his hobby in a wheelchair and later followed by an even at our local observatory for blind people.

Astronomy with a wheelchair (13 Jan 2020)
Manfed Fischer from Germany, who gave a lecture in Linz, is a freelance journalist and a trainer for handicapped people and he is a dedicated Amateurastronomer.  It's important to him to give this dedication to other people too - including handicapped people. To make observing interesting to them, there is a need for some adaptions to make this happen. He told us something about famous historic astronomers and scientists, who have done great work in science despite their disability. Even he told about living scientists doing succesfully the same, for example the blind astronomer Wanda Merced. She translates datas to audible signals and on this base she has done many succesfull observations. Manfred Fischer told us a lot about handicapped people and about the importance of the broadly defined term of accessibility. We learned how we can more or less easily adapt telescopes to make them convenient to people with wheelchairs. He told about enabeling astronomy for blind or deaf persons. So we got a deep insight in the world of people, who have real borders to participate in many things in the everyday live of non-disabled persons. So in the future we will try to break down some of these borders in accordance to our organisation Astronomers Without Borders. Some days later we started already our first event with blind people.

Astronomy with a wheelchair

"Observing" the stars with blind people (17 Jan 2020)
We were allowed to welcome a group of blind people at our observatory to have a kind of star-"observing"-meeting. This was again a further step to follow new ways in public outreach work at our astronomy association.BlindPeople1

We offered a true to scale (in size&weight !) model of our planets.So our guests could learn about our Solarsystem and they got an "insight" about cosmic dimensions, starting our virtual journey from our solarsystem. We had some handmade modells of star constellations, where the blind people could feel out the shape of the constellation and even the "brightness" of stars, because the stars are made from small balls with different diameter in accordance to their brightness. Very helpfull have been our new 3D-print modells. At time we have only some of the moon, but I am sure many others will follow. Another highlight for the blind people was to touch "stones", not from the earth but from space.

Summarizing it was a succesful event, our guests have been very happy and we got a good feedback including many good new ideas what we can do more or better. So encouraged by this event the next step will be to do the same for deaf people. We are already in contact with local sign language translators. Of course if it will happen I will report.


Johannes Stübler



Showing 1 comments
  • William Afonso
    31 January 2020
    Really a Wonderful Initiative, Hope to see this Give us Budding astronomers!!
You need to be logged in to leave a comment

About Me

Something more about me HERE:


Location:Linz, Austria
Social Media: