How many of us approach a new situation depends on the circumstances. For many, the thought of “Astronomy” might be overwhelming and seems too complicated. The good news is that nothing is impossible and with a little help from trusted friends many hours of pleasing leisure will be enjoyed.
There are several things which affect what we do or how we approach new challenges. When it comes to Astronomy it’s important to accept who you are and realistically set yourself a few goals or achievement points. By accepting the limitations your physical abilities place on you will be able to make connections which help and advance your interests. Accepting our limitations is one of the hardest parts of dealing with a physical disability. Many of us with disabilities have problems getting on with things which are important to us because either other people or the ‘normality systems’ hold us back. Most of us try to do things, regardless of how often we underachieve or are hurt in the process. With a little thought, preparation and often a little ingenuity, most of the obstacles can be overcome.
Whilst our non-impaired friends only have to think about whether or not the ground will support their equipment, we have to consider the nature of the surface and its risks to us. If we are in a wheelchair is the desired viewing area able to be negotiated with safety.
A nice dark site in the country is good but useless if we can’t access it, or it’s hazardous. The probability is that you will know your immediate backyard environment so start there close to home. Extraneous light impedes viewing. It’s important to secure as dark a location as possible and just begin looking at and talking about what you think you see. Test your knowledge and understanding with a friend who is competent to Coach you in Astronomical matters.
Prepare the area by day for enjoyment at night. Remove all obstacles and hazards so you don’t trip or stumble in the dark. If you find a particular area of your back yard is good and comfortable for viewing, think about getting a concrete slab laid if there isn’t one there already. The dark atmosphere can be damp and cold.
There are thousands of disabled people who can’t get outside. Most assume because they can’t get out, they can’t take up astronomy. With the help and encouragement of a local Astronomical Society, the impossible can become a reality. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility to watch the stars from indoors. Many disabled citizens just look out the window and see the darkness. If darkness can be seen then it’s possible to see other things when your night vision is enabled. The old saying ‘it’s better in the dark’ applies to those of us who enjoy Astronomy. When preparing for an Astronomical adventure take a few minutes to become informed about what you might see and when. Talk your occasion over with a friend and be an informed Stargazer.