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The Night Kitchen Podcast
Girl with space suit made of cardboard​​​

One Year after the 2021 James Webb

Space Telescope (JWST) Launch

On Christmas Day 2021, humanity awakened to learn that the long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) had launched. The world waited and watched for any images this telescope might return to us. What would Webb find? How would it affect the world? It wasn’t too long before the first images were canvassed across every screen. The telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data were released during a televised broadcast at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The Carina Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet, and the Southern Ring Nebula were some of the images the world was finally able to preview. But what was the science behind them? What additional information did Webb capture? How could these images be interpreted to the blind and low vision community?

Josh Urban, in partnership with the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, sought to learn about Webb's observations and design a tactile representation of its findings. Thus, a program was born! Youth ages 7-17 were invited to be part of a team of unique thinkers to share their input and perspectives on how a tactile representation could be achieved. On July 27th, a two-part virtual program entitled “Transcribing the Sky” was hosted by Mr. Urban. Nadiya, a middle schooler with a knack for science, joined the program. Through discussions and experimentation, the group produced several iterations until a final prototype was created. NadiyaTesting.JPG

The group decided to create a tactile representation of a star test image. This model is key to understanding how the JWST “sees” stars. Using a 3D printer, our image was brought to life. Braille text and an audio QR code were also added to describe the image. To learn more about the JWST star image, listen to the audio description by Josh Urban below.

prototypes.jpgPrototypeInterested in what was created? To commemorate the first-year launch of the JWST, we invite you to experience the tactile image created by our program. Give it a try, and offer your feedback by visiting the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. If you would like to 3D print our prototype, download the file for free from our website. This is only the beginning! We anxiously await more discoveries from the JWST.

3D Print Image File

Audio Description of 3D print

​Episode 1: 

The Space Tour Bus Road Trip (How Big is Space?)

Space is a big place.  Take a trip as we explore the cosmos.  But, how long would it take? How far is it away? And could we ever get there? Take a listen to this episode to find out more. An additional reading list can be found here​. 


Episode 2:

Stargazing (What does the sky look like?) 

We are going out for a night of stargazing. Come along as we explore the night sky.  For thousands of years, people have been looking up at the sky and imagining shapes and pictures from the patterns of the stars.  The moon, the sun, and the stars...  let's explore them all in the Night Kitchen. ​​ Additional resources can be found here​.

Episode 3: 

Shooting Stars!  The Leonid Meteor Shower​

Are you ready for another sky event?  The Leonid Meteor Shower is coming! Meteors are raining down on earth all the time...up to 100 tons of material a day! But, we usually can’t see them...but how can we detect them? Join us in “The ​​Night Kitchen” as we serve stories about meteors or shooting stars. Additional resources can be found here​.

​​Episode 4:

How To Do Astronomy​

Do you want to know more about astronomy but just don’t know where to start?  Look no further as we delve into creative ways to do Astronomy.  Additional Resources can be found here​. 


​Epis​ode 5:

Things That Go Bump in the Night - Weird Stuff in the Universe​

​Bundle up, it’s getting cold outside, and Josh has a telescope set up. Let's see what we can find, right from his backyard!  Learn more about the Seven Sisters of Pleiades, Pegasus, and black holes as we observe the night sky. Additional resources found here​.​


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