It never ceases to amaze me what people can do, even in the face of debilitating limitations. Beethoven, for instance, composed his Ninth Symphony while almost completely deaf, relying on the vibrations of his strings to guide his composition. It’s truly amazing to think about. But there could never be a blind astronomer, right? Right?!
Tim Doucette was born with congenital cataracts and, after surgery, he was left with just 10% of his eyesight. His pupils, unlike most of ours, don’t automatically adjust depending on the amount of light around them—his are always open. When it comes to seeing in the dark, though, that’s actually beneficial.
“I can actually see the night sky better than most people,” he says in a Great Big Story feature, as Laughing Squid reports. After having additional surgeries as a teenager, Doucette recalls looking up at the night sky and, in his awe of the expansive Milky Way, thinking he had a detached retina. It wasn’t actually detached; rather, Doucette’s perpetually open pupils were allowing him to see the stars in exceptional vividness.
Doucette now studies the stars from his own observatory, which he built with his own savings near his Nova Scotia home. The observatory, named Deep Sky Eye, has become a sanctuary where he can celebrate his victory over adversity and remember the insignificance of our terrestrial problems. “When I look up at the night sky, it makes you realize that all your problems—the fact that you’re legally blind or whatever—really just doesn’t matter, and you realize that you’re a part of this universe.”
Anyone out there have a similar story? Let us know in the comments.
Image: Great Big Story