Reaching for a star

Tactile stargazing will allow thousands of blind and visually impaired people to marvel at the night sky through a new RNIB project


A Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) initiative that helps blind and visually impaired people enjoy the wonders of the night sky has received a grant from the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Touch the Sky project is one of five schemes that will benefit from a £400,000 funding pool distributed by the Royal Astronomical Society in the lead up to its bicentenary in 2020.

The RNIB scheme will use “tactile starballs” and support materials to help thousands of people with sight loss to explore the night sky.

A training programme delivered by RNIB and the Glasgow Science Centre will see 10 science centres, planetaria and museums across the UK designated as Touch the Sky hubs.

Other initiatives supported through the funding include a scheme that uses virtual reality to bring astronomy to prisoners and a mobile trailer that will help deprived communities in Cornwall learn about space.

Successful projects were chosen from a pool of more than 70 applications by the Royal Astronomical Society.