NARIT collaborates with Bangkok Airways to expand opportunities for learning astronomy and fulfill the dreams of visually impaired individuals. The project, titled "Even if you can't see the moonlight, you can feel the stars," involves students and teachers from schools for the visually impaired in Bangkok traveling to Chiang Mai to experience real astronomical observations on Doi Inthanon, one of Thailand's best stargazing locations, from January 23-25, 2024.

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Dr. Saran Poshyachinda, the Director of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), stated that astronomy is a science that uses imagination to understand nature and the universe. Visual impairment poses a significant challenge to learning about astronomy and the natural world, affecting the design of content, appropriate educational materials, and overcoming visual barriers to provide equal learning opportunities for everyone.


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This initiative stems from a previous astronomy activity in February 2023 when visually impaired students from schools in Bangkok participated in stargazing activities at the Regional Observatory for the Public in Chachoengsao. The success of that program inspired the current project, aiming to bring these students to experience stargazing on Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai.


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NARIT is committed to organizing activities for visually impaired individuals as a pioneering project to expand learning opportunities in astronomy for those with physical disabilities, health issues, or others in need of special assistance. This aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, promoting inclusivity and equal access to education in line with their motto, "Leaving no one behind."


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Mr. Prasong Subanpong, the Director of the Bangkok School for the Blind, expressed gratitude for Bangkok Airways for providing the opportunity for visually impaired students to experience their first flight. He also praised the NARIT team for their remarkable efforts in teaching astronomy to visually impaired children.


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During their visit to Chiang Mai, the students participated in a two-day program. On the first day, they traveled to Doi Inthanon, learned about temperature and air pressure changes using snack bag experiments, and experienced nature at Wachirathan Waterfall. In the evening, they visited the National Observatory, where they explored various types of telescopes and observed celestial objects such as Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon.


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The second day included a visit to the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden to explore the Canopy Walk, followed by an activity called "Smell, Taste, Touch" to experience the diversity of plants. The students then visited the Sirindhorn Astronomy Park to participate in the astronomy program "Sky in My Hands," where they learned basic stargazing and constellations using tactile models.


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The closing activity, "Learning the Distance between Planets and Earth," allowed the students to compare their imagined views of the sky with the actual positions of the planets. In conclusion, the organizers expressed gratitude to everyone who generously supported the astronomy program for visually impaired individuals, emphasizing the importance of providing equal opportunities for learning and experiencing the wonders of the universe.


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Lastly, we would like to express my sincere gratitude to the kind-hearted individuals who have provided opportunities and supported the astronomy activities for the visually impaired. 'Although they may not see the moonlight, they can feel the stars.'

Special thanks to:

* Bangkok Airways Limited or Bangkok Airways

* Chi Chang Computer (Thailand) Limited

* TCP Group