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


Tim Doucette is an amateur astronomer—and he’s also legally blind. “Kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it?” he jokes. However, Doucette can probably still see the night sky better than you can. He explains the contradictory phenomenon in the video above, filmed by Great Big Story.

Doucette was born with congenital cataracts, a rare clouding of the lens of the eye. Doctors removed the lenses and widened his pupils, leaving him with 10 percent of his eyesight. The average person’s pupils automatically open and close as they adjust for the amount of light they’re exposed to, but Doucette’s are always open.

“During the day, I see everything extremely bright,” he tells Great Big Story. “Everything is overexposed. Colors are more vivid. But at nighttime the tables are turned, and it’s like a curtain’s been lifted.”

Doucette lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. He studies the starry northern skies in a personal hill-top observatory, which he calls “Deep Sky Eye.”

“When I’m looking through a telescope, I’m not wearing my glasses, and my eye is like a camera without a lens,” Doucette tells Great Big Story. “It’s focusing the light very clearly onto my retina. I see a little bit of extra light that most other people don’t see.”

Learn more about Doucette via Great Big Story’s interview, or check out his personal blog to follow his star-gazing adventures.

[h/t Great Big Story]

Banner image courtesy of iStock.