How Will The Visually Impaired "See" The Eclipse?

The eclipse is just a month away and while most will have no problems seeing the eclipse, what about those who are visually impaired

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – The total eclipse is less than a month away. While it may be easy for people to view through special glasses, visually impaired people must experience it in a different way.

"To me it's important that everyone gets to share this experience,” says Mariah Williams.

She is looking forward to August 21st, but because she is visually impaired, she'll have to experience it differently.

"The big thing will be a change in temperature, anywhere from 15 to 20 degrees,” says Williams. “Since the sunlight will be blocked, you can usually feel sunlight on your skin. I have a little bit of light sensitivity so for me personally, I'll be able to tell dark versus light."

Williams worked with Dr. Cassandra Runyon of the South Carolina NASA Space Grant Consortium and Cynthia Hall, with the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math at the College of Charleston, to help other visually impaired people get the total experience.

"We want them to have, especially NASA, who is funding this, wants everyone to experience the eclipse,” says Hall.

Hall along with Dr. Runyon developed activities to explain what will physically happen to the sun, moon and earth during the eclipse.

"We also developed a book, Getting a Feel for Eclipses, and so we took a lot of that content and made it tactile so, that people with visual impairments can actually feel what's happening during an eclipse and experience it that way."

"Spatial sense is what they did so well here,” says Ann Humphries.

Humphries lost her vision in the late 1980's, but is determined to be a part and understand this historic event.
 
"Feeling the eclipse, but also the path of totality through the whole country, the diagonal it's going to take,” says Humphries. “That's very meaningful to me and it helps me to be able to discuss it."

When asked where she’ll be on the big day, Humphries says she’ll be right outside, enjoying everything that the experience can offer.

For more information on where you can pick up some of these eclipse materials for the visually impaired, you’re asked to contact Dr. Cassandra Runyon or Cynthia Hall at the College of Charleston.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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