Basic astronomy is currently not taught in Haitian schools or colleges, as learned during recent lectures at UNIQ and ESIH by the PI. Both places however have expressed a strong interest in incorporating basic astronomy into their curricula, which is why HASC-1 was funded. Utilizing a tool, an all-sky-camera, offers a simple and effective way to combine teaching basic astronomy (constellations, sky motions, meteors) with training in practical computing skills (and having students code).
The currently funded Haiti All Sky Camera (HASC) project has taken an All Sky camera to Haiti and introduced Haitian college students to astronomy, the python programming language and how to operate this camera using Python. Here we propose to continue to build on the existing infrastructure in a number of ways. We plan to make the telescope more portable by using a Raspberry Pi for the data taking, now making it possible to take the unit into the field powered by a battery! In addition we propose to expand the astronomy/python curriculum, as well as show case the All Sky camera at a number of colleges and high-schools with, including more remote locations without power. Our collaboration between Haitian and U Maryland students continues, as this project is also partially funded via UMD. We also continue to fund one Haitian student at attend the GRAD-MAP winter workshop at U Maryland. Our three partners in Haiti are l’Ecole Superieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti (ESIH), Universite Quisqueya (UNIQ) and College Catts Pressior, as well as a school project in Les Cayes.