The small corner of the stars, a tiny house next to the OATA observatory at Tatacoa (Colombia) is the first astrotourism laboratory tied to local fauna and flora, astronomy and care of the environment. Through collaborative work with science clubs composed of scholars from the local school, the project is conducting experiments aimed to expand the current tourism offer. Based on the picture of an astronomical park (OAD Flagship 1) we have configured a “walk through the solar system”. In addition, we have mounted a station illustrating the impact of light pollution, bringing awareness about sky dark protection. Concerning indoor activities, we use eleven light boxes for illustrating the history of the universe from the Big Bang up to the formation of the “Tatacoa desert”. Our goal is transform the small house into an information point for visitors through the support and close collaboration with local science clubs. Our strategy to stimulate sustainable development is based on the inclusion of local entrepreneurs, coordinated with the parents association of the school and local authorities.
A1. Presentation of the project to local community: we presented the main goals of the project to the academic and local community of Tatacoa. We tried an innovative method for reaching local people. With the support of National Observatory , National University of Colombia, we took an inflatable planetarium with a capacity for 40 people.
A2. Teacher Training Program: This activity was conducted in March 2023 at Gabriel Plazas school. A total of 23 teachers attended the sessions. The main goals were to help them recognize the potential of Tatacoa for astrotourism. Participants constructed a map, identified previous attempts at entrepreneurship, and reviewed previous science clubs, classroom activities related to tourism and astro-tourism. Astrotourism experiences from around world, including DarkSky Alqueva, La Palma and Antofagasta, were shared with the teachers. Teachers were provided didactic material and guidelines for the creation of science clubs at Gabriel-Plazas.
A3. A walk through the solar system: we are creating a scale model of the solar system with the clubs. It is expected to be ready for inauguration on October 14, 2023 (Annular Solar Eclipse at Tatacoa)
A4. The light pollution station: a small station in plastic and wood showing the impact of light pollution on sky observation. It consists of two images of the starry night taken under different levels. The station will include the sentence: “The light that we see from celestial objects has travelled for millions of years before it reaches our eyes; don’t lose it during the last fraction of second of their whole travel.”
A5. The history of the universe: a set of 11 pictures (light boxes) telling the story of the universe. It starts with a sunset in Tatacoa and ends with the history of this tropical forest including fauna and flora.