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Legally Blind Amateur Astronomer Can See the Night Sky Better Than You

Despite being born with congenital cataracts and having just 10 percent of a normal person’s vision during the day, when the night comes amateur astronomer Tim Doucette can see things most of us cannot.

When he was just a teenager, Doucette underwent an operation that removed the lenses from his eyes, and widened his pupils, in order to improve his weak sight. A normal person’s pupils automatically adjusts according to the amount of light coming in, but Tim’s are always open, letting in a lot  of light. During the day, everything he sees is extremely bright and overexposed, even when wearing glasses to protect his eyes from the light. His vision is about 10 percent that of the average person. However, at night time, everything changes…

The first time he noticed the special side-effect of his operation was when he first took off the bandages from his eyes. “I just had the bandage removed from one of my eyes, and looking up at the Milky Way and it was like a curtain had been lifted, it was just amazing,” Doucette remembers. At first, he actually thought he had a detached retina, as he was seeing millions of bright spots, but soon realized he was looking at the stars of our galaxy. 12 years ago, Tim’s wife, Amanda, who is also visually impaired, bought him a telescope and he took up astronomical observing as a hobby.

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The Real Starry Night – Astronomy Student Recreates Van Gogh’s Painting Using Hubble’s Deep Space Images

Alex Harrison Parker, an American PHD astronomy student, used computer mosaic-making software to re-produce Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting from the most beautiful images captured by the Hubble telescope in the last 20 years.

“The idea came up around the time of Hubble’s 22nd birthday, when I thought it would be neat to assemble a collage of a bunch of Hubble images from over its history,” Alex told Discovery News. So he went online, downloaded Hubble’s top 100 pictures and used a mosaic software to create this new take on Van Gogh’s work of art. The passionate astronomer who likes to study the asteroids and proto-planets of the early solar system decided to go ahead with his unique project after cloudy weather prevented him from exploring the real starry night at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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